Discovery Point Blog

September 14, 2021
girl sits at table having conversation with dad

15 Conversation Starters to Get Your Children Talking

Even if your child is a natural talker, it’s unlikely they’re a natural conversationalist. Knowing how to hold a conversation is an important life skill, and many of today’s children have fewer opportunities to practice due to the ever-present focus on technology. 

However, conversations are still crucial in our society. They allow people to form relationships and generally make their way through life. From meeting new people to attending job interviews to diffusing tension in unexpected situations, the ability to engage in conversation is an essential skill for all of us. 

Parental guidance with practicing this skill is especially important as the process of holding a conversation has a number of unspoken rules that children don’t always pick up on. Nuances like understanding body language, taking turns, and knowing how to respond to both positive and negative news are essential drivers in conversations and promote a stronger connection between the speakers.

Some children require ample encouragement and consistent feedback to get comfortable holding a conversation, while others can chatter for hours. You likely know what your child’s strengths are in this area and can help them work on their weaknesses. 

Here are a few skills that most children need a bit of help with:

  • Starting conversations, including breaking the ice with new acquaintances, when and how to politely interrupt an existing conversation, and properly greeting others before asking questions
  • Using polite language such as “Excuse me” and “Do you have a moment?” to get others’ attention
  • Maintaining comfortable eye contact and avoiding distracting fidgeting
  • Showing interest through attentive body language and short interjections such as “Really!” and “Tell me more.”
  • Knowing how and when to bring a conversation to a close

Building Conversation Skills Through Practice

Now that we’ve covered the importance of practice when it comes to conversation and specific skills your child could probably use some guidance with, let’s jump into fun ideas for helping your child practice talking and listening.

Below are some of our favorite conversation starters for kids, divided into five categories.

Nurturing Familial Relationships

When we see our families day in and day out, we don’t always take the time to build family relationships. Here are some conversation starters that do just that. 

  1. Do you have any favorite family traditions?
  2. What do you think our family should do more of together?
  3. What do you love most about our family?

Expanding the Imagination

Your child’s imagination is crucial to their creativity. Verbalizing what’s in their mind can help them learn to articulate their inner feelings, big ideas, and inspirations. Try these questions to spark their imagination.

  1. If our pet could suddenly talk, what is the first thing they would say?
  2. Which color makes you feel the most peaceful, and why?
  3. If you could choose to have a superpower, what would it be?

Developing Empathy and Understanding Others

Many children need to be reminded that their feelings are not the only ones that matter. Conversations about others are a great way to encourage empathy.

  1. How do you think people who make fun of others feel about themselves?
  2. If you could change one thing about how other people behave, what would it be?
  3. When was a time you had the opportunity to be kind, but decided not to? What can you do to be kinder in the future?

Managing Emotions and Difficult Thoughts

Talking with your child about ways they can regulate their own thoughts and emotions early on in their life will give them more opportunities to exercise their mental strength. It will also let them know that it’s okay to not always feel okay, which is something we all need to hear sooner. 

  1. Which feeling do you dislike the most – feeling embarrassed, angry, alone, or scared? Why?
  2. When you experience that feeling, what is something you can say to yourself to help you get through it?
  3. What are some of your biggest fears, and how can we overcome them together?

Being Ambitious and Looking Towards the Future

While some children find it easy to dream of what they’ll do when they’re an adult, others can’t see beyond lunchtime. Encourage your child to think about the future and stoke their ambition with these conversation starters.

  1. Do you want to live here when you’re grown up or is there somewhere else you dream of living?
  2. If you could achieve one thing, what would it be and why? (Going to the moon, winning an Olympic gold medal, having kids, starting a business, etc.)
  3. What do you think your life will look like in five years? In ten? Twenty? 

Looking for more conversation starters? Check out this list.

One of the most important things parents can do is to leave the door to conversation open. Let your child know they can talk to you at any time, whether about the topics above or about something else. When you show that you value their opinion by including them in conversation regularly, you’ll help them understand why listening to others and learning to express oneself are such important life skills.