Brainy Parenting

Inside: Stop asking your kid “How was your day?” because it doesn’t work anyway. Here are the best questions for kids that will actually foster a fun conversation.

Every evening at the dinner table, my husband and I used to fall into this age-old parenting trap.

“How was your day?” “Fine.”

“What did you learn today?” “Nothing.”

“Who did you play with at recess?” “No one.”

But one-word answers don’t foster a good discussion, and they certainly don’t help us reconnect with our kids after a long day apart from each other.

And yet, it’s absolutely essential that we do reconnect because if we don’t, we pay the price later.

When we’re all feeling connected, the kids jump in to help clean up after dinner – without being asked. They pay attention the first time we ask them to brush their teeth and get jammies on. When we tuck them into bed, they’re all giggles and smiles.

But when we’re all feeling disconnected? We get less cooperation, more power struggles, and grumbles and grimaces at bedtime instead.

The best questions for kids that will actually get your child talking about their day

What If We Asked Our Kids Better Questions?

I realized I needed to solve the problem of one-word responses so we could have a family conversation that leaves everyone’s connection tank overflowing.

But as busy parents, we’re too exhausted to be creative and come up with questions to ask kids that will get a real, meaningful conversation going. So my first step was to find the best questions for kids that actually work at getting your kids to open up.

You can find lots of questions for children online, but you have to wade through quite a few duds, like:

  • “What’s your favorite number?” or
  • “Why do you think some kids disobey their parents?” or
  • “Frozen or The Incredibles?”

In other words: Boring, loaded, or queued up for another one-word answer that takes the conversation nowhere.

Same goes with the ready-made conversation starters you can find on Amazon. After reading tons of reviews, I found out the store-bought versions of “questions of the day for kids” had the same problem – questions that were duds, plus the questions didn’t work well for a wide range of child ages.

Related: 7 Best Family Bonding Games That Will Help You Reconnect Quickly {Printable}

Here’s How These 150 Questions for Kids Are Different

I devoured every list of questions for kids I could find, and I compiled the ultimate list of all the best questions for kids. These were my criteria:

  • Open-ended questions for kids work best, like “How” and “Why” questions. These types of questions get kids talking because they open the door to more than just one-word answers.
  • Any questions to ask your kids should be something adults can answer, too. Most kids don’t appreciate feeling like they’re put on the spot to perform like circus animals for the benefit of the surrounding adults. Plus, a conversation where everyone’s contributing is more fun anyway.
  • No boring questions. Research shows people love talking about themselves – but not if you ask boring questions.
  • And this one’s important: Any questions to ask your child shouldn’t feel like a test or a lecture. For example, “Why do you think some kids disobey their parents?” may give you some interesting answers, but your kid could feel like you’re setting a trap.

I waded through pages and pages of questions for kids to find the absolute best questions that kids and adults will enjoy. The final list includes 150 awesome questions for kids, which gives you enough for nearly six months of questions of the day for kids.

Related: How to Connect With Your Child: The Magic of the 5:1 Ratio {Printable}

50 Best Questions for Kids…That They’ll Actually Answer

With these questions for kids, not only will you be teaching your child the art of conversation, but you’ll get to peek straight into their heart. What’s important to them, what has them worried, what they’re excited about.

And most important of all, you’ll close any distance that’s come between you and your child during the day so you both end the day feeling connected, loved, and happy.

To download a printable version of the full set of 150 questions for kids, get my family conversation starter cards here. Included in this post below, you’ll find 50 of the best questions for kids from those conversation starters.

Questions for Kids About Themselves

  1. What are you excited about right now?
  2. What was your first thought when you woke up today?
  3. What do you want to accomplish by your next birthday?
  4. If you could be famous for one thing, what would it be?
  5. What’s the best thing about your life?
  6. What’s a small thing that makes you feel happy?
  7. What’s something you want to do, but you can’t yet?
  8. What makes you feel loved?
  9. What will you be doing in 10 years?
  10. If you could only eat one food for an entire year, what would you choose?
  11. If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
  12. What’s the best thing that has ever happened to you?
  13. What’s the worst thing that has ever happened to you?
  14. What are you most proud of?
  15. Which rule do you have to follow that doesn’t make sense?
  16. If you could pack anything in your lunch tomorrow, what would it be?
  17. What makes you feel special?
  18. If you had to choose only three words to describe yourself, what would you say?
  19. If you were invisible, where would you go and what would you do?
  20. What do you worry about the most?
  21. What’s something you’re looking forward to?
  22. When do you feel happiest?
  23. What’s the most important thing you’ve learned so far?
  24. What’s your favorite joke?
  25. What is one thing you want to learn how to do?
  26. If you could stay up all night, what would you do?

The best open-ended questions for kids

Questions for Kids About Family And Friends

  1. What’s your favorite thing to do as a family?
  2. What’s something nice someone said to you lately?
  3. Who understands you the best?
  4. If you could change one family rule, what would you change?
  5. What’s your favorite thing to do with your friends?
  6. If you could switch places with one person for a day, who would it be?
  7. What’s something you did to help someone today?
  8. What do you get to do at someone else’s house that you wish you could do at ours?
  9. What advice would you give to a younger sister or brother?
  10. What’s the smartest thing you heard somebody say today?
  11. Who made you smile today?
  12. What’s your favorite family tradition? Why?
  13. What’s the funniest thing somebody did or said today?
  14. What was the last time someone was mad at you?
  15. If we didn’t have to go to school or work on Monday, what would you want to do all day?
  16. Has someone ever asked you to do something you didn’t want to do?
  17. What’s the most important thing for a parent to do?

Questions for Kids About the World

  1. Twenty years from now, where do you think you’ll live?
  2. What’s the biggest problem in our world?
  3. If you could give everybody in the world one piece of advice, what would you say?
  4. If you could create one law that everybody on Earth had to follow, what would it be?
  5. If you could learn any language, what would you learn?
  6. What will the world be like in 10 years? What will be the same? What will be different?
  7. If you could live in another country for one year, where would you live?

How to Use These Printable Questions for Kids

To save you some time, these printable conversation starters are designed so you can print them on pre-perforated business card templates and just pop each one out (see below). But regular paper and scissors work great too.

  1. Download your cards here . After you order, you’ll get a special link to download your cards.
  2. Print. I designed these questions of the day for kids to print on Avery business cards for inkjet † or laser printers. Or you can just print them on regular paper or card stock, then cut the cards out or fold and tear to get a charmingly casual look.
  3. Drop the cards into an empty bowl or spare mason jar, put it on your dining room table, and you’re DONE. Or to take it one step further, you can hole-punch them in one corner and put the whole set on a book ring like this. That makes the cards extra portable so you can throw them in your purse, car, or carry-on for a plane ride.

† This site is reader-supported. When you buy through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Pick a question or two to ask your child after school or at dinner every night, then take turns answering the question – and get ready to feel closer to your kids than ever before. As another option, you can keep your cards in the car and ask a question on the way to or from school for an extra dose of connection!

Before You Go: 4 Quick Tips for the Best Conversations

To keep the conversation moving with your kids, here are a few tips that have worked well for us while using these family conversation starters:

  • Try to just listen. For some of these questions for kids, you may be tempted to jump in and give the “right” answer. But your child learns way more from a healthy discussion than from a one-sided lecture.
  • For toddlers and preschoolers, you may have the best luck with having your youngest child go first because otherwise, they may just repeat what the person before them said. And that’s still adorable, but it’s also fun to hear what your youngest child really thinks.
  • If your kid says “I don’t know,” explain that there’s no right or wrong answer. You just want to hear their ideas. If they still don’t have an answer to give, you can say, “I can give you a minute and come back to you” then move to the next person in the car, at the dinner table, and so on.
  • If your child’s answer happens to shock you, try saying “Hmm” or “Interesting” – something noncommittal that will give you time to think of a calm response. Because if you freak out on your kid, they’ll clam up. These conversations should be fun, not stressful!
Download now: 150 Best Questions to Ask Instead of “How Was Your Day?”

Your Turn

What are your favorite questions of the day for kids? Let’s help our fellow parents discover another way to say “How was your day?” that will actually get a conversation going. Share your best questions to ask children in a comment below!

Kelly Holmes, author and Certified Parent Educator

I'm a mom of four, a Certified Parent Educator, and the author of Happy You, Happy Family. I believe if you want a loving parent-child relationship that will last into the teenage years and beyond, the time for nurturing that kind of relationship is now. The good news? All you need is 10 minutes a day. Start here »

This post originally appeared on Happy You, Happy Family