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How to Use Open Ended Questions With Young Children

Updated on June 4, 2011

Using open ended questions for children is a great way to get young children talking and to ensure that they will keep talking with you as they grow older. When you establish an environment of interactive communication with your children, you will reap the benefits later in the form of real communication instead of the standard yes or no answer. Examples of open ended questions can be found online or with prepackaged sets of questions 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 way toward opening up long term, meaningful communication between adults and children.

Click here for a list of open ended questions.

Open Ended Questions Open Up Dialogue

While there are times you need to simply get an answer from your child, far 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. Another great use for open ended questions is to use them as writing prompts for children.

Here are a few get to know you questions for kids to get you started:

·      Do you ever have a good or bad dream that comes back over and over? If so, what is it like?

·      What would you do if you could fly for a day?

·      If you could trade lives with somebody you know, who would it be?

Open Ended Questions For Preschoolers

It’s never too early to engage your child in meaningful conversation through open ended questions. Early childhood is the perfect time to start this method of communication. Not only will you get to know your child better, you may get some valuable quotes for the family scrapbook.

Some open ended questions to get very young children talking:

·      What is the funniest thing you can think of?

·      How do you describe me to your friends?

·      What do you think is beyond the stars?

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 that make a good parent?

·      If you could decorate our whole house, what would it look like?

·      Tell me about something I never knew you did when you were little.

For more samples of open ended questions see the article, Top 50 Open Ended Questions For Sparking Conversation With Kids.

Image Credit: jessicamelling, Flickr


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  • chuckandus6 profile image

    Nichol marie 2 years ago from The Country-Side

    I voted up great hub,thanks for sharing.

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    al_masculine 7 years ago

    wow! This is truly useful. Thanks for posting this.

    Great hub!