Communicating With Our Kids: Asking Questions

When it comes to quality communication, you have to ask the right kinds of questions.  This is especially essential with children.  Sometimes, it’s even about not asking a question.

Types of questions:

1. Open Questions

Open questions allow for a variety of answers. When you ask an open question, you aren’t going to get a “yes” or a “no” response.  That said, children make still answer with one word responses.

Ask “How” and “What” questions.  Stay away from “Why” questions–they imply judgment as well as take your child out of the moment and into their heads searching for an answer that they probably don’t have (thus the common “I don’t know” response).

Instead of “Did you have a good day?” ask “How was your day?”  An even more open way is to use a statement instead of a question–“Tell me about your day.”

Expound on this with more open questions: “What was your favorite part about today?  What was your least favorite part?”

2. Closed Questions

Closed questions elicit limited responses.  Any question starting with do, does, did, is, was, and are is a closed question.  These are good to use when trying to get specific information out of your child, but limit these types of questions because it doesn’t lead to quality communication.

If you look at the example in the previous section, you’ll see a closed question: “Did you have a good day?”  Typical responses will be: “Yes.” “No.” “Kinda.”  Not exactly quality.

3. Quality Questions

Quality questions allow you to dig deeper into quality conversations.  Here are some options to improve your communication with your kid:

I wonder what that was like for you?/ What was that like for you?

You must be really upset, huh?/What does upset look like/feel like for you?

What if this weren’t a problem?

On a scale of 1-10, how angry are you?  What does a (whatever number they said) look like to you?

What is going on in your life right now?

What do you want?

What matters most to you?

What would your ideal world be?

What do you need?

Check out part one of this series here.

Originally published by the author on The Pink Factor.