Looking for thoughtful conversation starters for kids? Learn more about your family through these 31 question prompts and simple topics.
“Daddy’s home!” the kids yelled when they heard the jingle of keys at the doorknob. I was equally elated to see my husband not only home, but in time for dinner to start.
Before the pandemic, he wouldn’t always be available to make it home in time for our five o’clock dinners. With work and an LA traffic commute, it was always a treat when we got to spend a weeknight together around the dinner table.
Still, over the years, we’ve eaten most of our meals (especially breakfast) together as often as we can.
Why? These moments provided a chance to start conversations with the kids, the ones that can get buried in the hustle of the day. They were the moments that got lost as we scrambled out of the house or settled in after a school day or work.
Even now, I still try to find other ways to spend time as a family in conversation. From drives in the van and even waiting in line at the grocery store, I’ve found opportunities to get conversations started with them.
31 conversation starters for kids
The best way to encourage your family to talk is through simple conversations. These prompts will get them talking and reveal so much about you and your kids. They’re fun, insightful, and a fantastic way for everyone to open up.
Take a look at these conversation starters for kids and try one each day of the month. I’ve grouped them together by similar questions, but you can mix and match, and cross them off as you like. You can even place each question in a jar for a random pick every day. As one parent said:
- What was your favorite part of the day?
- Who did you play with at school today? / Who did you talk to today at school?
- How were you kind to someone today?
- What are you proud of?
- What are you thankful for?
- What’s one good thing you’re really good at?
- Who’s the nicest person you know?
- Which family member do you love seeing the most?
- What are you looking forward to this [season/day/week/month]?
- How would you change the world when you grow up?
- What could our family do that would make the world better?
- What superpower would you like to have if you were a superhero?
- If you could only keep one toy, which toy would it be?
- Pretend you could be the teacher: what rules would you have in the classroom?
- If you could be an animal, which one would you be?
- Would you rather [blank] or [blank]? (e.g. go to the pool or the beach)
- If we spent time alone just you and me, what would you want to do?
- Let’s say you could be any age. What age would you be?
- If you could be any cartoon character, who would you be?
- What does it mean to be a good friend?
- What do you think makes a family close?
- What makes you feel happy/upset?
- How do you cheer yourself up when you feel sad?
- What’s your favorite book?
- What’s your favorite food or dessert?
- What do you like best about our family?
- What’s your favorite thing to do as a family?
- What’s your favorite thing about [a family member]?
- What do you like best about school [or camp, swim class, etc.]?
- What’s your favorite holiday of the year?
- What’s your favorite room in our home?
- What’s your favorite place we’ve visited?
- What’s your favorite family tradition?
- Who’s your favorite cartoon character?
- If you could have any pet, which animal would it be?
- What would make the perfect day?
- What family rules would you change?
- What’s your favorite game you like to play with your best friend?
- What are you looking forward to on our vacation?
- What would make your birthday extra special?
- What’s your favorite joke? / Tell me the funniest joke you’ve recently heard.
- Tell me the hardest thing about being a kid.
- What was the silliest thing you’ve ever done?
- What kind of music do you like best?
- What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?
- Who’s your favorite teacher you’ve had so far?
- Describe an embarrassing moment you’ve had.
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Benefits of having conversations with your child
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Why the focus on conversation starters for kids? Don’t kids already talk so much as it is?
For the most part, I’ve encouraged conversations to flow as they naturally do. Kids are keen on sharing what happened during the day or how they feel, often on their own.
But sometimes I’ve found that a little prodding is needed. This is especially true when they seem bored, if some siblings are taking over the conversation, or if I want to learn more about a particular topic.
Experts also say that conversations are important for learning. Author and professor Robert D. Putnam wrote in Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis:
“Cognitive stimulation by parents is essential for optimal learning. Children who grow up with parents who listen and talk with them frequently… develop more advanced language skills than kids whose parents rarely engage them in conversation…”
Take a look at these amazing benefits and the importance of having conversations with your children:
- Kids learn conversation skills like how and when to talk versus listen.
- We reflect on our days, how we felt, and the choices we made.
- Conversations open up topics that otherwise wouldn’t be shared.
- All family members learn about one another.
- You’re able to celebrate successes and how to support and encourage one another.
- Kids value how others feel.
- You’re able to reinforce family values like kindness, respect, and perseverance.
- Kids build confidence and competence.
- You practice gratitude and show empathy for their emotions.
- You strengthen the family bond.
And here’s what Laura from Raising Happy Readers said about these conversation starters:
“For a while (months?) I kept feeling like I wanted to focus more on connecting with our kids during this valuable time of day but didn’t know how to really go about that when my brain was full and scattered. I wanted to know more than the ‘how was your day at school’ so I did a Pinterest search for conversation starters for little kids. There are so many awesome resources (free!) out there. I found my fave, printed it and stuck it on the wall near our dining room table and voilá! We’ve been using it to have some fun discussions with our kids before they get to be “done” with meal time.
Here’s to meal times that feel a little slower paced— or at least a little more meaningful!”
The best way to keep the conversation going after your child responds? Ask why and how. Have them explain why they love Halloween, or how they’re going to enforce rules as a teacher.
And remember, there isn’t a “right” answer, no matter how whimsical theirs might be. It’s fine for them to say they’d love to be a unicorn or fly to the clouds to cheer themselves up.
Above all, apply these questions to learn, grow, and bond—whether over nightly dinners or even waiting in line at the grocery store.
Get more tips:
- Amazing Family Conversation Starters to Try Right Now
- Children’s Books about Family
- 20 Open Ended Questions for Kids You Should Ask
- The Best Activities to Do with 2 Year Olds
- How to Encourage Your Toddler to Talk
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