We all think we know our kids pretty well. And surely, we know their attitudes, what upsets them, and how their day will probably be, based on how their morning went. But if you really want to learn a little more about your kids, then you have to ask them questions that help you see the person they are becoming. Here are five questions that are great topics for around the dinner table, or the next car ride. Ask these questions and get to know your child a bit better…
1. What was the best part of your day?
Ask your kid this question and gain some insight to how their day went. Are they answering with big things like: making a new friend; becoming a finalist in the spelling bee; or playing kickball at recess? Or are they saying smaller things like: really good pizza at lunch; getting an “A” on a test; or receiving a compliment from a teacher. If they are typically talk about bigger things, it means they are looking the big wins and significant events. If the smaller things in their day typically come to the forefront, it means little victories are appreciated in their day. Help them see the value in both.
2. What was the worst part of your day?
This question can really help your kid to open up. They could respond with the little things like: lunch was horrible; Science class was long; or recess was cancelled today. Pretty typical things. But if they are saying things like: “Johnny called me a name”; “No one wanted to play with me”; or “I hate school,” then it is time to dive a bit deeper. You don’t need to go into full panic mode, but these are the types of negative responses that shouldn’t happen regularly, and need to be explored a bit.
3. If you change the world, what would you do? And why would you do it?
This question can help you see if your kid is paying attention to the world. Many kids are focused on video games, or hanging out with friends, but what do they think about President Trump? What have they heard about the Corona Virus, or do they realize how many people in this world are truly struggling? No, you don’t have to dive deep into these things, but ask them what they think. See what they understand from the things they hear. Help them understand the world a little better. They need to see the big picture.
4. Honesty is the best policy. Do you agree or disagree?
Ask this question and see if your kid values honesty. If they agree, you can ask them about times where they were honest or saw someone being honest, and how that was a great thing. If they disagree, then probe deeper. Ask them why not. You may learn that they feel like people around them are being dishonest and not being caught. This is where you will hear them say things like, “that’s not fair.” They are asking for guidance…help them out.
5. What is the toughest thing you had to deal with today and how did you deal with it?
Answers to this question can help you see if your kid is facing what they believe to be big challenges each day, or if the toughest parts of their day are typically little things that don’t really matter. For example, being bullied at school can have a huge impact on a child’s mental health. Definitely something to explore and understand. Nip these problems early. If they are bothered by the minor things, help them to understand that life has its ups and downs. The important thing is for them to understand they will experience highs and lows. It’s all part of the ride.
Asking your child these question can really help them open up. You can get to understand what they appreciate in life and how they are dealing with life’s little ups and downs. The best thing you can do is be excited with the good things and be understanding with the bad things. You don’t have to solve every problem. Sometimes getting a “C” on a test can really blow. Empathize and agree with them. Follow it up with encouragement. Use dinner time or car rides to get to know your kid better and help them through this journey of life.