Ask open-ended questions to spark conversations

When you ask your children questions—especially big, open-ended ones—you support their language development and critical thinking. Instead of asking questions with a one-word answer (“Who is your friend?”) or only one right answer (“What color is the crayon?”), try to open the door to conversations in a new way. During family routines like mealtimes or bathtime, while reading bedtime stories together or taking walks, or when you ask your child about their day at preschool, use the following strategies to encourage them to talk about themselves, their ideas, and their reflections.

1. Ask open-ended questions to spark conversations. Pose questions that will encourage your child to analyze, evaluate, and create, such as

– What was the best (hardest, funniest, saddest) thing about your day at preschool?

– What book did your teacher read today? Tell me the story.

– If you had written the story, how would you have changed it?

– If you were cooking for our family, what would you make for breakfast (lunch, dinner)? Why?

(See “Sample Open-Ended Questions” below for more examples.) Read more.

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