questions-in-jarOnce again, I’m pleased to have a guest post from Kristin Little, who contributed so much about talking to kids in “The Co-Parents’ Handbook.” —Karen

We are so curious about our kids—how they are feeling, what might they be struggling with, or just to share in their day. And yet a lot of what we get back is “I’m fine,” “okay,” or “Geez stop with all the questions!”

What we fail to consider is we are pretty great to know as well. We’ve had lots of experiences, our own childhood, our particular struggles with universal themes such as individuality, feeling confident, regular life failures and comebacks—things that kids are (not surprisingly) interested in hearing.

This is different from a lecture; it’s a glimpse into the things that make us who we are. As long as it is kid-friendly and allows them room to play through their own ideas, thoughts and feelings, hearing about adult’s experiences can be a valuable teaching tool. It can connect us with our kids and also connect our kids to a broader family history of struggle, grit, and hard-earned success.

You can try having kids write down interesting questions to put in a jar and ask during dinnertime conversations. You can help prepare some questions they want to ask when going to visit grandma and grandpa. You can help your child create a father or mother’s day journal with questions that really show their love, or you can create a back and forth journal for kids that express themselves more openly with the written word rather than face-to-face.

Here are some ideas for questions that spark great conversations:

  • What did you first want to be when you were a kid- how/why did it change to what you are now?
  • Who did you most look up to when you were a kid (that wasn’t your parents) and why?
  • What is something that was invented during your childhood that was a huge surprise or changed your daily life?
  • What was your favorite childhood vacation, who were you with and what did you do?
  • What was something you got to do as a kid that kids don’t get to do now? Do you think kids nowadays miss out?
  • Was there a bully in your school and did you ever get picked on?
  • Is there something that you wish you could do that you didn’t or couldn’t as a kid?
  • What as a kid were you most proud of accomplishing? How did you do it?
  • Do you have a favorite story that you heard from your parents or grandparents?
  • What do you think is the two most important lessons in life that bring happiness?