Most kids are naturals when it comes to talking. If you’ve ever had a 2-year-old ask you a series of questions out of the blue that you can’t answer, you know this is true. What happens when they’re too quiet? You know that something is on their mind and they won’t open up? How do you start a meaningful conversation with your kids?

Maybe it’s not a question of how, but a question of when.

It’s fair to assume that a kid will open up about their feelings only if they’re ready to. After all, they’re still developing. They’re still acclimating to new experiences, emotions and the world around them. That may be little consolation to a parent who knows when there’s something burdening their children. Starting a conversation with your kids is one of the healthiest things you can do. It helps them develop reason. It helps them understand empathy. It helps them reflect. It helps them communicate. And it helps them make sense of their feelings.

Even the most random question can unlock a child’s imagination⁠—and surprise you in the process. Here are some of the best conversation starters for kids to get them talking to you.

What Was Your Favorite Part Of Today? What Was Your Least Favorite?

Between school, play and socialization, kids have a full schedule on their plates. Asking them about their favorite part of the day can help you recognize their passions and interests, as well as their weaknesses.

How Would You Describe Yourself In Three Words?

No matter what their age, kids need encouragement to develop a healthy sense of self-esteem. By asking them to describe themselves, you can get an accurate picture of how your child is developing as well as where you can help.

How Would You Describe Your Parents In Three Words?

Don’t forget, Mom and Dad. You can use some encouragement, too! Asking your children to open up to how they really feel about you. This helps start a conversation to enlighten you on your own success (or shortcomings) as a parent.

If You Could Visit Another Planet, What Would You Bring With You?

This conversation starter can teach you more about what your kid values!

What’s One Chore You Wish You Didn’t Have To Do And Why?

Chores and rules can be one of the most aggravating things about growing up. Kids will resist routine tasks until they’re blue in the face. By asking them their least favorite chore, you can actually pinpoint areas they need to develop. For example, if they dislike making their bed it could be a sign of idleness. If they dislike putting their toys away, it could mean they have a sense of entitlement. Learning to recognize these opportunities can help them develop new skills.

If You Could Be One Age For The Rest Of Your Life, What Age Would You Want To Be?

This sort of conversation starter can reveal some interesting insights into how kids view adults as well as their own age group. For instance, they might feel jealous that their teenage sibling seems to have more privileges than they do. Are they aware of the responsibilities that go along with them? Are they aware of how much you work to keep a roof over their heads? Do they realize how lucky they are to be worry-free? Do you know how lucky you are to grow along with them?

What’s Your Favorite Holiday And Why?

Learn about how your kids view family milestones with this conversation starter! Is Thanksgiving time for food or a time for family? Is Christmas a time of gifts or time of giving? Easter? Their own birthdays? Whatever the occasion, your kids are bound to have a perspective that may surprise you.

What’s Your Favorite Memory?

Learning how your children associate experiences with value can be a great lesson for parents. Try to remind your kids that while memories might be temporary, there’s always room for new ones.

What Would You Change About The World?

Children are perceptive to the world around them. It’s no different whether they witness poverty or charity. This sort of question can help you glean insight into your child’s developing sense of values. It can also help them learn to appreciate what they have. Spur them towards contributing to a positive change in the world.

What Superpower Would You Most Like To Have?

Is it a silly question? Not necessarily. It can reveal more than you think about your child’s personality traits. If they want to be able to fly, you may have a very independent (if not reckless) adolescent down the road. Do they want to be invisible? They may be private and introspective. Even the most benign conversation can start a train of thought that can help children understand and relate to the world around them.

When it comes to starting a conversation with your kids, there’s no such thing as a wrong question—or a wrong answer. In fact, the only thing you can do wrong is…

Not asking questions in the first place.

Need more tips on how to talk with your kids? At Handprints Academy, we’re always happy to help. Visit our blog for more great parenting tips or call (214) 484-1018 to schedule a tour.