There are two little words that effectively put an end to all conversations with our kids—”fine” and “good.” (You're nodding your head right now, right!?) Use these best conversation starters to break through those four letter words and into a meaningful conversation with your kids!
We know it's a challenge—we've been there too! Even the best intentions to communicate with our family can be futile when competing with the craziness of everyday life. Between school, work, practices, friends, electronics… where does the time even go!?!
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Here in our house, we have a fun tradition we like to do called “Sweet, sour, and service.” During this time, we each go around and share something sweet that happened that day, something sour and how we served someone. We've included all of those topics and more to make it even easier for you. And yes… you can even do this with your little ones!!
So gather together, put away the distractions and start having meaningful conversations with our best conversation starters today! We'll show you how to ask just the right questions to unlock your child's mind, no matter their age, and really dive deep into their unique and thoughtful brains!
BENEFITS OF FAMILY TIME AND CONVERSATION
Taking the time to talk to your children can have more benefits than you may think! Meaningful conversations with kids can deepen their vocabulary, improve social skills and even help them understand their own emotions better, as well as increase their self-esteem.
But that's not all—even parents themselves have lower stress levels and better family functionality overall when conversations are made a priority. Sounds like a WIN-WIN to us!! What are you waiting for?
Okay, so maybe you see all the incredible benefits of striking up a conversation with your kids, but now you're just not sure where to start. How do you get past those dreaded four letter words and break into a conversation with depth and meaning?? Don't worry, it can be done—we'll show you how!
WHEN TO START FAMILY CONVERSATIONS
There really isn't a wrong time to start family conversations but there certainly are some times that are easier than others. You want to start by choosing a time when your kids are most receptive. Unfortunately, the ride home from school after a day full of learning may not be that time… and that's okay! Look for opportunities when they are rested, relaxed and comfortable.
One of the best times to use these best conversation starters is when you are all sitting around the dinner table! Turn off all distractions—silence and put phones away, forget about homework or to-dos and just start talking! It may be rocky at first but just keep going. With these dinner conversation starters, dinner time will become something your family actually enjoys!!
SELF-FOCUSED CONVERSATION STARTERS
If your kids (or you!) are finding it difficult to keep a conversation going, start with these self-focused conversation starters. Because really… who doesn't enjoy talking about themselves even just a little!? *raises hand slightly* Come on, you know you do!
- What was your favorite thing you ate today?
- Who is the nicest person you know and why?
- What is something sweet that happened to you today?
- What is something sour that happened to you today?
- How have you served someone today?
- What did you study in math class?
- If you could only eat one food forever, what would it be?
- What did you learn today that you didn't already know?
- What is your favorite holiday of the year and why?
- If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
- What do you want to do when you grow up?
- Do you prefer to travel by plane, train, car or boat?
- What are you most afraid of?
- Who is your very best friend and why?
Try to start with specific questions and let the conversation evolve from there!
FAMILY CONVERSATION STARTERS
These family conversation starters are great for involving everyone at the table! Get a feel for how each member of the family is doing and feeling in their role. Don't take it too seriously, though—this should be fun!
- Who is the silliest person at the table?
- What is your favorite thing we do as a family?
- How could we do better to support each other?
- What is your favorite family tradition?
- Which relative do you love visiting the most?
- How do you feel about being the oldest, youngest or (enter place in birth order here)?
- What is your favorite thing to play with your sister(s)/brother(s)?
- If you could be the parent for a day, what would you teach your kids?
- Who is the best at playing games?
- Who is the most creative, servant-minded, thoughtful? (Try to ask similar questions to compliment all of your children's best qualities. Celebrate each other!)
- What is something new we could do together this weekend?
Understanding each other better is crucial for keeping the peace at home! Wouldn't it be incredible if all it took was some intentional family conversation to help your children get along better? Yes, please—sign us up!!
IMAGINATIVE CONVERSATION STARTERS
Now, this one is our favorite! Explore your kids wildest dreams with these imaginative dinner conversation starters. You'd better buckle up, though—this ride can get craaazy!!
- What superpower would you choose to have?
- How would you use that superpower?
- If you could be any animal, what would it be and why?
- If you were king or queen for a day, what is the first rule you would impose?
- Your pet can talk! What are they saying?
- If you could make up your own holiday, what would it be?
- If you could live inside a television show, which one would it be?
- How would you change the world if you had one chance to do anything?
- If you could turn the sky any color you wanted, what would it be?
- Would you rather read minds or know the future?
- If you could have any animal in the world as a pet, what would you choose?
- If you were given ten thousand dollars tomorrow, what would you do with it?
- What is your favorite thing to build with Legos?
Depending on the age of your kids, these answers may be suuuuper drawn out but that is GREAT! Let them talk and just sit back and listen!
GRATITUDE CONVERSATION STARTERS
These conversation starters are a great way to take the focus off of self and put it on others. It is so easy for kids (and adults too) to get wrapped up in their own busy life and forget to stop and be thankful. Remembering what we have to be grateful for is a fantastic motivator for helping others, too!
- What are you most thankful for today?
- How has God blessed you this week?
- Tell me of a time when someone else helped you out this week.
- How can you serve someone else this week?
- What gifts do you have that you are thankful for?
- How can you use those gifts to do good?
- Why are you thankful for your parents today?
- What is a life lesson you have recently learned and how has it helped you?
A great way to take these gratitude conversation questions a step further is to keep a “gratitude jar” handy for each family member to add to each night. Simply write what you're thankful for on a slip of paper and drop it in! At the end of each year you can empty out the jar and go through all the things your family was thankful for that year. It's so neat to watch how a kid's gratitude evolves over the years!
TIPS TO HELP THE CONVERSATION GO SMOOTHLY
If family conversations aren't something that comes naturally to you now, that's okay! Making big changes isn't easy for anyone… especially for kids. Follow these tips and we promise things will get easier!
PUT EVERYTHING AWAY
The BEST thing you can do to make your family time special and engage in conversations is to put everything else away. That includes all electronic devices. No, not just in your pocket, completely away—like in the other room!! We know it's a sacrifice, but we promise it's one worth making! You and your kids will be better for it.
Anyone else have a tendency to shut your kids down when the ridiculous-ness starts coming out?? Why do we do that!? Instead of correcting them or hitting them with the cold. hard. truth. Let them dream up the impossible and just listen!
Not only will they enjoy making up their crazy explanations, when we listen we help build their confidence and self-worth! If we don't think their thoughts are important, why should they?
In the end, all kids really do want to be heard! Even the most resistant kids will eventually open up and benefit from intentional family conversation times. Young or old, they all have something valuable to bring to the table and it is our job as parents to help foster that confidence!
ASK MORE QUESTIONS
When the conversation seems to hit a wall, ask more questions. Just make sure they are open-ended or you may end up with a simple yes or no response. If one question leads to a dead-end, that's no problem—ask a follow up! It's okay to be relentless!
LET YOUR IMAGINATION RUN WILD
Kids shouldn't be the only ones with colorful imaginations. Step back into your little kid shoes and let your mind go wild! Follow your children's lead—they'll know what to do!
Now, use these best conversation starters or grab a book full of questions and get to talking!
Share some of your favorite ways to talk to your kids in the comments below! We want to hear from you!
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