How to use open questions to encourage your child to talk

Do you know How to use open questions to encourage your child to talk.


What are open questions?

Open questions are powerful.

Open questions are hugely powerful.

Open questions are questions phrased in a general way so the child being asked can chose to share whatever they want in relation to it, rather than being limited.  They allow the answers to come from anywhere the child asked chooses.

These questions encourage a child to really open up and share their inner world. They enable, prompt and allow them to be to be expansive in their response.


open questions


How to use open questions to encourage your child to talk


A closed question may be, ‘Did you enjoy school today?’ to which the answer may simply be yes or no.

‘What can you tell me about your day at school?’ is a much more open question, enabling a range of responses from a child.

With an open question they can focus on the important elements of their day that matter to them, not just the element you focus on (which could miss the mark completely).

They might talk about playtime or lunch. what they learned, how they got along with their peers, what went well, what went wrong. They might focus on sounds, smell, or details and times, noises or emotions or well, anything THEY choose.

Open questions allow a child to lead a direct where the conversation heads.

It puts them in charge, it tells them you are interested  not just in getting an answer to a niche question but that you are interested in what they care about.

What a powerful statement that is to a child. You are saying I will receive and I will hold whatever it is you wish to share with me.

Closed questions can close down and limit conversations.


Activity using open questions to encourage your child to talk

Why don’t you try asking your child an open question today and see how they open up.



Further reading

How to say no to your kids in ways they understand

Fun questions to ask your kids






  1. November 28, 2016 / 10:25 am

    I do this all the time, it’s something I’ve picked up in one of my first journalism seminars over 15 years ago and then again in psychology classes at uni and it’s so so helpful to really get people to talk and open up x

    • becky
      November 28, 2016 / 11:16 am

      Thats fabulous Carolyn such a simple effective technique

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *