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Do you ever feel like as a parent, you do a lot of instructing and not enough listening? I know I do at times.
There’s always chores to be done, schedules to be maintained, behaviors to be managed.
As the mom, I feel like it’s my job to keep things running smoothly; to make sure this house and family runs like a well-oiled machine.
It can be SO easy to focus on the tasks of life and motherhood – and neglect the relational “chores” that are so much more important, and actually more enjoyable!
Handing out instructions shouldn’t be my main goal in parenting, and I sure hope my kids don’t remember me doing ONLY this when they look back on their childhood experience someday.
My overall goal is to nurture the relationship with my kids so that we will have a solid foundation to build on. I want to raise happy kids who WANT to be helpful, to do good, and most of all, to follow Jesus – not because I told them to, but because they’re internally motivated to do so (and led by the Spirit).
Asking good questions and simply listening and having a two-way conversation with our kids is one way we can grow closer to them and see the character and morals develop which we so deeply desire for them.
The art of conversation, I’m afraid, is becoming lost on this generation and it’s one of the best gifts we can give our kids.
Related article: Teaching Patience to an On-Demand Generation- and What’s at Stake if we Fail
50 Questions to Ask Your Kids – to Grow Your Relationship and Their Faith
Below are 50 open-ended questions to ask your kids to get the conversation flowing.
Some of these are questions that I think we forget to ask in our frenetic pace of life, and they’re worth asking. You might be surprised at the responses you receive from your kids and the exchange of wisdom that follows!
#1. What’s the best thing about being in our family?
#2. What do you wish we would do differently as a family?
#3. What’s your favorite memory of us?
#4. What kind of family do you want to have for yourself someday (if God gives you a spouse and kids)?
#5. What do you love most about YOU?
#6. If you could ask God one question right now, what would it be?
#7. What do you think about when you think of heaven?
#8. What do you look forward to when you’re a grown up?
#9. What’s your favorite family activity?
#10. If God’s love was a color, what color would it be and why?
#11. If you could give your brother (or sister) one gift – any gift at all, what would you give them?
#12. What is the coolest Bible story you’ve read or heard recently and why?
#13. What do you think is the best thing about being a kid?
#14. What do you think is the best thing about being a mom or dad?
#15. What do you love the most about your brother or sister?
#16. If you could visit any place in the world, where would you want to go?
#17. If you were the President, what changes would you want to make for our country?
#18. What do you think would make the world a better place to live in?
#19. If you woke up and could plan the “perfect day”, what would you do that day?
#20. When you’re having a bad day, who or what helps you to feel better?
#21. How do you know that God is near, or when/where do you feel His presence the most?
#22. Why do you think God put us together as a family? What is your role in our family?
#23. If you knew today was your last day on Earth, what would you want to tell other people? What would you do that day?
#24. What makes you a good friend to others?
#25. What are some of your favorite things that God created in nature?
#26. What things do you like to do that make you feel relaxed and happy?
#27. If you could meet someone famous, who would it be and why?
#28. What kind of things do you want to do when you’re a grown-up?
#29. What do you look forward to doing next year?
#30. If you could invent a holiday, what would it be?
#31. What gifts do you have that you could use to bless others?
#32. What gifts do other people in your family have that are a blessing to you?
#33. When you think about Jesus giving his life for your sins, how does that make you feel?
#34. What kind of job do you dream about doing someday?
#35. What chores do you like the most, if you had to pick?
#36. What chores do you like the least?
#37. What is the hardest thing about being your age?
#38. What things have you done that make you the most proud of yourself?
#39. Who do you admire or want to be like and why?
#40. What do you do when you feel nervous or anxious?
#41. Where do you think you will live when you’re a grown up?
#42. What makes you laugh?
#43. What is the most important thing you’ve learned from the Bible?
#44. If you could change one thing about the past, what would it be?
#45. If you could know something about your future, what would it be?
#46. If you could meet one person from the Bible, who would it be and why?
#47. What do you think you will remember the most about me when you’re all grown up?
#48. If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
#49. If you had a million dollars, what would you do with it?
#50. What do you want other people to know about yourself?
By having these open-ended discussions, we can dig a little deeper into our kids’ desires, hopes and dreams in a non-confrontational, inquisitive kind of way. My kids are always thrilled when I take the time to connect with them by asking lots of questions (even the silly ones).
Just when you think you know your kids, they can surprise you. You might discover things you never knew about their personalities and what really motivates them. You might find that your questions touch on some sensitive issues that they have wanted to discuss but didn’t quite know how to bring up.
Try not to be shocked or upset by their answers, especially in regard to the things they would like to change about your family or how they view you as a parent.
Kids need to be able to verbalize their feelings, and it’s good for us to see life through their eyes. It could even bring about some much-needed change in the family atmosphere.
These questions could also give you a chance to clarify some of your child’s questions about faith and the nature of God, and His involvement in our daily lives.
A big bonus of learning to ask your kids these types of questions is that they will also learn to be more inquisitive and to ask questions of others. This is a way they can show others they care about THEM instead of just talking about themselves all the time. (See how that works?) 😉
If you want your kids to be sociable, to be able to give thoughtful responses and develop healthy relationships with their friends and family – teach them to be inquisitive, and to not just ask questions, but to wait to hear the answers and respond thoughtfully.
I hope that these questions spark some lively conversations at the dinner table, at bedtime, in the car or whenever you have a few moments together as a family!
You might also like:
• How to Raise Happy, Motivated Kids
• A Fun Idea for Teaching Values to Young Kids – WITHOUT Lecturing or Nagging
• 4 Simple Ways to Let Childhood Linger – and Enjoy Your Kids More
• 29 Inexpensive Summer Activities for Kids and Families