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Conversation Starters

— U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Updated on Apr 23, 2014

Practicing good parent-child communication is an excellent avenue for teaching social skills and communication skills, which young children will need more and more as they get older. Use these conversation starters to work with your child on active listening and communication.

  • Does your child copy your disciplinary style? Ask, “If your teddy bear makes a mess or tells a lie, how will you deal with it?”
  • I see you had a problem with your teacher today. Tell me what happened and let’s see if we can work together on a way to clear up the problem.
  • I think you made a great drawing. Tell me why you picked the colors that you did. How did you think to draw that?
  • I’d like you to play on a neighborhood team this summer. What kind of team would you like to play on?
  • If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
  • Is there someone you know whom you would almost always be willing to do what he or she says? Who is that person?
  • Let’s do something fun tomorrow. What do you think would be fun?
  • Let’s go for a walk around the neighborhood and see how many doors we can count. You can practice riding on your bike while I walk.
  • Let’s play copycat. You do everything I do. Later I’ll copy everything you do. What did I do that you had the most fun copying? Why? What else do I do that you do?
  • Let’s play with clay today. What do you like to make with clay?
  • Our church is having a picnic tomorrow night and the whole family is going. Can you be in charge of getting together things to play with, like flying discs or a baseball?
  • Tell me about a time you felt (happy, sad, afraid, angry) during the day today.
  • Tell me about one person you met or played with today.
  • Tell me about one thing that happened today.
  • Tell me one good thing that happened at school today.
  • Tonight, we’re going to have a family meeting to talk about taking care of the dog. Everyone will sign up for feeding and walking the dog during the week.
  • What are our family rules? Why do we need them?
  • What are some of the rules in Grandma’s (or another family member’s) house?
  • What do you like best to do with (a member of the family)? Why?
  • What do you want to be when you grow up? What makes you want to be that?
  • What is a rule?
  • What is your favorite thing to do?
  • What is your favorite thing to eat?
  • What makes you angry? What do you do when you’re angry?
  • What rules do you follow at school? Why?
  • What scares you? What do you do when you’re scared?
  • What should happen if you break a rule?
  • What three words would you use to tell another person about yourself? Why those three words?
  • What would you like to help me make for dinner tonight?
  • When do you feel bored? What do you do to stop being bored?
  • Which would you rather do—play ball or play cards? Why?
  • Who is your favorite character on TV or in a book? What makes them your favorite? Would you like to be like the character? What would you copy?
  • Who’s your favorite friend?
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