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mother and two daughters taking a selfie, with heart and smiley faces emojis around them Parenting Tips

Conversation Starters For Kids That Will Help Bring Your Family Closer

Haley Zapal  |  July 12, 2021

mother and two daughters taking a selfie, with heart and smiley faces emojis around them

In the hustle and bustle of your day-to-day life raising kids, it can be easy to find yourself doing a lot of talking but not necessarily a whole lot of connecting. It’s not always easy — running out the door to carpool or scrambling to make dinner on a school night isn’t usually the perfect moment for a heart-to-heart talk. But for those times when you’re ready to sit down and truly connect, we’ve compiled some helpful conversation starters for kids so your family can grow closer and learn about each other.

The Importance of Conversation Starters for Kids

Being active and engaged in your kid’s life is one of the best investments you can make in your child’s well-being and future. Not only will you know what’s going on in their life, but you’ll also create and nurture open lines of communication so your child will feel more comfortable coming to you with any issues they may have. This can ultimately help keep them safer because you’ll be able to intervene in situations a lot earlier if your support is needed.

Mastering the Art of Meaningful Conversations

One of the most important things to remember about talking to your kids is to try and be yourself. Kids appreciate authenticity, so don’t try to be too formal when you’re breaking the ice. Humor is always good, and so are embarrassing stories from your own childhood, which can help your kid relate to you a little easier.

From a technical standpoint, approach conversations kind of like a lawyer — don’t ask yes or no questions unless you want one-word answers. Similarly, try to use lots of  “why” and “what” prompts so the answer requires a few sentences and not just the ever-dreaded, non-answer “fine.”

Conversation Starters for Elementary School Kids

Light-hearted questions

  • “Walk me through what the best day ever would be for you. Start with breakfast and go all the way to bedtime.”
  • “When I was your age, I couldn’t wait to get my driver’s license. What are the three things you’re most excited about being able to do when you grow up?”

Serious questions

  • “You know how I go out sometimes with my friends to dinner? That’s how my best friends and I have fun and catch up. What do you think it means to be a good friend? How do you show you care about your friends?”
  • “You and I both use screens a lot. What do you think about the time we spend on phones, computers, and tablets? Should it be any different?”

Good Talks for Middle Schoolers

Light-hearted questions

  • “You know how my favorite song is [insert your favorite song]? What is your favorite song in the whole world? What’s your least favorite song?”
  • “Imagine you’re the newest ambassador to Earth and a spaceship full of super friendly aliens just landed. You get to pick one meal to present to them as the best that our planet has to offer. What are you serving up to impress our new visitors?”

Serious questions

  • “When I was young, the “popular kids” were [describe some features personal to your high school experience]. What makes kids popular at your school? What are they like?”
  • “Imagine you’re all grown up and you’re wildly successful and famous. What are you famous for? Sports? Medicine? Politics? Being a good friend?”

Heart-to-Hearts with Kids in High School

Light-hearted questions

  • “If you could pick your dream class schedule with any subjects you like — including fun stuff like ‘history of ice cream’ or ‘the art of making Spotify playlists’ — what would you pick?”
  • “You know how I’m always a stickler for no shoes in the house? If you could make one rule mandatory for everyone in the whole world to follow, what would you pick?”

Serious questions

  • “When I was your age and got dumped, this is how it went down (insert your awkward 10th-grade anecdote here). What does it look like when someone in high school breaks up today?”
  • “If I didn’t get invited to so-and-so’s party, I didn’t know I was left out until homeroom Monday morning. What’s it like for you seeing it all in real-time on Snapchat?”

Want More Inspiration?

Once you start digging deep and bonding with your kids on a regular basis, you probably won’t want to stop! Coming up with new and different questions can sometimes be a challenge, though. Fortunately, there are a ton of fun, family-friendly games that make finding conversation starters for kids a breeze. We recommend:

What’s Wrong With Grownups?

Kids will love this game that offers them a chance to share their thoughts on everything from why grownups work so much to how they’d run the world. 

Our Moments: Families

Sometimes, the best conversations happen in cars. Our Moments: Families is the perfect activity to beat those backseat boredom times on vacation.

Do You Really Know Your Family?

This zany card game helps you learn about each other and build new family memories as you answer interesting questions and perform silly challenges together. 

Parenting in a Tech World

The best-selling parenting book written by Bark’s very own Titania Jordan and Matt McKee is filled with real-life examples and tried-and-true conversation starters that will teach you how to have — and keep having — hard (but important) conversations with your child.

Bark helps families manage and protect their children’s digital lives.

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