Talk that Talk: Questions that Prompt Conversation with Kids

After being with, around, adjacent to, and sometimes, weighed under my children almost non-stop since 2020, I’ve run out of things to talk about with them.

That certainly does not stop them from continuously talking to {at} me all day.  

But recently, their dad and I separated. And with that comes “Mom weeks” and “Dad weeks”. 

While they leave me every other week, I started to realize something deep and a little painful.

I’m missing out on moments with them now. Moments that I NEVER would have missed before. Little laughs, big memories, the whole hurtful shebang. 

Ouch. So much ouch.

On my weeks, I look for opportunities to make memories of our own. We’ve created traditions for our time together. We’ve come up with our own little moments, sayings and inside jokes. We’ve filled the home the four of us share with trinkets and pictures only we understand and connect with. 

Talk that Talk:: Questions that Prompt Conversation with Kids

But we talk even less now.

It’s even harder now to find things to talk about, or it feels forced when we do have deeper chats.

And I miss it. I miss having my ear talked off. I miss asking them to pause conversations for a bit. I miss knowing ALL the stories. 

But where to begin?

These conversations starters have truly helped me get the chatter going, and if you’re in a similar, quiet boat, they can help you too!

When your kiddos get home from school, or an outing with friends or a visit with dad, instead of asking, “How was your day?” when they get home, these kinds of questions can definitely begin lively conversations and give you some insights into the inner working of those sweet minds!

What made your friend/ teacher/ Granny smile today? What made him/her frown?

My kids are becoming more and more interested in people’s reactions to the world. I think it has a lot to do with not seeing full faces a whole lot over the past year and a half. 

They’re enjoying actually seeing people smile, laugh, scowl or frown lately, and they’ve spent a great deal of effort trying to figure out why. 

“I shared this Batman toy with him, so he smiled.”

“When I asked Dad for a hug, he laughed and said, ‘Of course, son.'” 

“I said I was better at that game than she was, so she made a sad face.”

“The guy who parked his car next to us was on the phone, and he was yelling. I think he was upset.”

Raising boys has nudged me to focus on emotions and feelings, because the world doesn’t often encourage that for them. When we discuss how we think people feel, we also get to chat about how WE are feeling. We relate. We empathize. We connect. 

Talk that Talk:: Questions that Prompt Conversation with KidsWhat new words did you learn?

This is one of my immediate favorites.

Between all the changes and transitions in their lives right now, my kids keep picking up on the most fun, interesting words that they’ve overheard and weren’t quite familiar with.

Core. Lottery. Induce. Superficial. 

I’ve loved hearing their responses to this question. We sit and chat about what these words mean and how to use them. 

We’ve even debated the difference between a couple and a few, just to make sure we all fully understand the meanings of the words. 

We’ve learned together, and I love it!

What made you feel proud? What made you feel special? What was the best part of your day?

Oh, these are such great go-to questions! 

Kids are always pumped to share the highlights, what they did that was “super awesome.” 

Sometimes the answers are simple. 

“I’m proud that I finished my dinosaur painting.” Or, “I felt really special when you let me have a big bowl of ice cream.”

But sometimes, I get answers that really make my heart happy. 

“Remember when we snuggled and read a book? That was the best thing today.” Or, “My friend, Luke, called me on FaceTime. He missed me and wanted to say hi. I felt really special.”


Talk that Talk:: Questions that Prompt Conversation with Kids

What was the hardest rule to follow?

The gauge. 

This question always helps me understand my kids’ struggles. 

When I ask this question, I get a better grasp of how they’re feeling, what’s frustrating them, and we get to discuss and work together. 

Screen time limits. No snacks before dinner. Take off your shoes in the house. 

Rules aren’t always fun or convienent, and I don’t mind hearing about what they don’t like about them and seeing if there are any ways to compromise.

Sometimes my kids struggle with our “keep your hands on your own body” rule and will explain that they almost reacted to their brothers with a swift punch in the arm when they touched their Pokemon cards. 

After we re-establish that hitting is not an appropriate move and I thank them for making a better choice, we discuss how their brothers {or anyone, for that matter} would feel after getting hit. 

Lessons are learned and efforts are met with gratitude. Win-win!

What was your favorite memory of today/ this week?

I try my best to look at their time away from me in the most positive ways. I want them to know I miss them when they go for a visit or have lunch with their father, but I truly want them to enjoy themselves while they’re gone. 

By asking them, “what was you favorite memory of you time at Dad’s?,” I feel like I’m in the loop. 

And I feel like it bridges the gap. My boys seems afraid to share with me about Dad’s house. Because they know things didn’t end well. And they know that talk about Dad isn’t my favorite talk.

But, the talk is important.

By asking them about their time away with him, they are invited to share with me.

And I think they like the green light to talk to me, even if it’s about the things that make me feel a teensy bit sad.

There are tons of other great, conversation starting questions that may help you reconnect with your kids. A few honorable mentions that I keep in my back pocket are::

Did you solve any problems today/ this week?
What was your favorite moment of your day?
What’s on your mind right now?
Any fun stories you’d like to share with me?
Will you teach me something today?

You know, it’s tough sometimes, remaining connected with your kids. The bond can ebb and flow, especially when some life-changing stuff goes down. But the tough times don’t last. 

Find every opportunity to talk. The ebb won’t feel so tough. 


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Ashley Black
Ashley KB was born in Long Beach, CA, but spent most of her childhood in Denver, CO. She was very athletic growing up, and she loved running track and playing volleyball. Ashley ventured to Oklahoma where she attended Langston University and transferred to the University of Central Oklahoma. Ashley graduated with an English degree from the UCO in 2011. Ashley was married to A.J. for six years... but it just didn't work out. And that's OK! They have three wild, precious, hilarious sons, Oliver {October 2012}, Maverick {August 2015} and Reeve {August 2017} who make life so incredibly meaningful. She also has a snuggly fur baby, Luna. In her free time, she can be found binge watching The Office {for the millionth time}, listening to inappropriate podcasts, or oversharing on Instagram @theofficialbossmama and her personal blog.


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