Jan 072016 1 Response

Three Questions to Ask Your Kids Every Day

Conversation is vital to any relationship. For true conversation to take place, both parties have to speak and listen. As a parent, there are few things tougher than getting your child to talk to you.

Nearly every school day in most houses the same conversation happens:

Parent: “How was school today?”

Child: “Fine.”

Parent: “What happened?”

Child: “Nothing.”

While some kids might be quick to give a full rundown of the day, many are not. Yet without some communication, parents are destined to remain clueless regarding what is taking place at school.

After many days of personally experiencing the conversation above, I found that a simple tweak to my questions led to better communication. (See: Four Things Kids Need to See in Marriage)

Every day I try to ask my kids these three questions.

1. What was something good that happened today? I don’t ask for the best thing. That is often too hard to define. I just want to know a good thing. If they give the same answer two days in a row, I can ask for something else that was good. After hearing their answer, I will often ask, “What made that good?” or “What do you enjoy about that?” This question is always my first question because it helps the conversation get off to a positive start and should be the easiest question to answer. (See: How Good Multiplies)

2. What was something you wish would have gone differently? This is a little different than asking “What was the worst thing that happened today?” That question might be too personal. This question is intended to remind them that not everything will go our way. Every day, every person will experience things that they wished had gone differently. Often by answering this question, we can explore other things which were not considered good. By easing into the conversation–asking for something they wished would have gone differently rather than asking about the worst thing–my children become comfortable with talking about fears, sorrows, frustrations, or things that didn’t go their way. This empowers them to have more serious conversations.

3. Who is someone you helped today? This is a question where I’m not concerned as much with the answer as I am with them thinking about the question. By asking this question on a regular basis, kids are more likely to think beyond themselves. They hear that helping others is important to our family. We don’t just think they will help people on occasion; we assume they will help people every day. This question leads to more questions: Were any of your friends sad today? Who didn’t have anyone to play with at recess? Who did you invite to play with you? Who did you help with their classwork? How did you help your teacher? If we want our kids to care for others, we must continually model for them and remind them that helping is something we expect.

Having a routine set of questions can become boring, but if the questions are right, it can become a predictable place of continual communication. These three questions often lead to the latter.

What is a fourth question that would be good to ask our children every day?

For more, see:

Don’t Gang Tackle Your Kids

A Simple Trick for Teaching Your Kids Respect and Gratitude

One Thing We Must Teach Our Kids

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