Use Open Ended Questions to Get Your Kids Talking After School

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Using open ended questions for children is a great way toget them talking after school. Although their natural inclination is to offerup a standard yes or no answer, you can get a lot more information with openended questions. Examples can be found online or with prepackaged sets ofquestions such as Table Topics, found at specialty boutique stores or online.Having a good supply of open ended questions to ask children can go a long waytoward opening up long term, meaningful communication between adults andchildren.

Open Ended Questions Open Up Dialogue

Whether your children are in Kindergarten or high school, the more you can get them to interact with you, rather than just provide information, the better your communication will be. While there are times you need a quick answer, more often you can use common open ended questions to really understand the way your child thinks—not to mention deeper insight into his or her dominant personality traits.

Closed questions require a one or two-word response or even as little as a nod of the head. They can also be the type that are elicit right or wrong answers, making kids feel as if they're being quizzed.

Examples of closed questions:

What did you eat for lunch today?Do you have homework?Who did you play with at recess/sit with at lunch?

Open-ended invite kids to imagine, elaborate, and tell stories. You'll get more information and get to know your child better when you ask open-ended questions. They let children think and solve problems. Here are some examples:

What do you think ofstandardized testing?If you were the teacher, howwould you explain algebra/gravity/nouns?If you were the principal of yourschool, what would you do first?

Examples of Open Ended Questions for Children

Use the following to get you started with open-ended questions. Examples here are just a suggestion. They give you an idea of how to structure any kind of question to illicit a substantive response.

Examples of open ended questions children will actually want to answer:

What do you think are the characteristics thatmake a good teacher?If you could redesign your whole school, whatwould it look like?Tell me about something I never knew you didlast week.

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