Family Connection: Ask open-ended questions at home

Talking with your child about his/her thoughts and feelings related to school is an important building block for academic success. The hard part is keeping the lines of communication open so your child can share important information.

One way to keep the lines of communication open is to ask the right questions. By phrasing your questions in a way that promotes thought and open-ended responses, you may be able to learn more about your child and provide better support when needed. On the other hand, questions that are accidentally closing down thought can derail your communication with your child.

The key to open-ended questions is phrasing it so there is not one correct answer. Examples of questions that encourage children to think and reason are:

  • What do you think made that happen?
  • How do you know that?
  • I would like to hear more about that…
  • I wonder what would happen if…
  • How could you have done that differently?
  • What are you wondering about?

These questions can open the door for more information and give you a glimpse into how the child perceives things. Remember, the experience your child is having in school may be very different than your own experience. You do not have to have all the right answers, but you can have the right questions!