When my kids were growing up, we were never at a loss for conversational topics. Maybe it was because we were homeschoolers and felt that it was our job to inform more than just on traditional school topics. Whatever the reason, we'd ask thought provoking questions about current events, religion, science, history, the economy, just about any topic.
However, I've come to find that many families aren't used to this and are missing opportunities to discuss not only important life topics, but they don't get through to more personal topics that their kids are dealing with. Sometimes it's because the child may not feel he/she knows how to bring up a topic for discussion. Sometimes it's because the child may not feel comfortable talking about personal things when there is no other discussion taking place.
In order to help families begin a tradition of discussion, here are some topics you can start with in your family. Here are the Top Ten Ways to Start a Family Conversation:
1. Ask questions about them and their day:
What are the most interesting things about you?
What’s one of your favorite jokes?
What’s your first memory?
What would be the most fun birthday celebration you could have?
What do you think your parents need to remember about being a kid?
Name three things you are grateful for.
What are you most proud of?
What scares you and why?
What’s your favorite family tradition?
What is the best dream you’ve ever had?
Which of the four seasons do you like best and why?
What sound really bothers you?
What do you do when you’re feeling really angry?
Who is the funniest person you know? Why?
What do you do when you see someone being teased?
Describe yourself in five words.
2. Ask them what they think of the world around them:
Why do you think the government makes laws?
What would happen if there were no laws?
How do you think people in X country live differently than we do?
What do you think it was like for me growing up that was different than it is for you?
3. Ask them "if" questions:
If you could take a trip anywhere, where would you go?
If you could design your own school, what would it look like?
If we all lived in a zoo, what animals would we be?
If you were to create a country, what would the name of the country be? What would the rules be? What would the national flag look like?
If you could be a character from any book, what character would you be?
If you could invite any person to dinner, who would you invite?
If you were a superhero, what would your power be and what would you be called?
If you could go into the world of one of your favorite books, which would you choose?
If our family were the characters from (your kid’s favorite book, movie, etc.), which characters would we all be?
If you were a great inventor, what would you invent?
Where in the world would you most like to live?
If you were a teacher, what would you teach? A certain class? A certain grade?
When you are an adult, how will you parent differently?
If you won $1000, what would you do with it?
Who do you think is the richest person in the world?
If you were granted three wishes, what would they be?
4. Ask thought provoking questions about things your children may have an opinion on:
What would you do if you could fly for a day?
What do you think the meaning of life is?
5. Ask them about their favorite things and why they like them:
What's your favorite color and why?
What is your favorite time of year and why?
What is your favorite season and why?
What is your favorite sport and why?
What is your favorite movie and why?
What is your favorite character in the show, [insert a show here]
6. Ask them what they might like to do when they get older:
What do you think you might want to do for a living?
What hobbies do you think you'd like to have when you're an adult?
7. Ask them what things they would like to learn about:
Would you like to do a sport?
Would you like to study ballet?
Would you want to learn to play the piano?
8. Ask them what subjects they think are most important:
What subject that you're studying now do you think is the most important one?
What subject do you think is the most important for the world to understand today?
9. Ask them what they think life was like at some point in history:
What do you think life was like for me?
What do you think life was like for Grandpa?
What do you think life was like for our neighbor growing up in Spain in the 1930s?
10. Ask them about technology:
What do you think is the most important technological advancement in the last 100 years?
What do you think will be the next major technological advancement?
What do you think life was like before the invention of the telephone?
I pray these bless your family discussions and that you and your children grow closer together.
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