What to ask (and not ask) kids

Hi there!

I thought this might be a fun topic to address. I know the title implies I'm writing specifically about kids, but, really, it's appropriate for teens and older kids alike.

As a teen, there are a lot of thing that bother me, but this was one thing that I could actually do something about. I present, the two worst questions (in my opinion) that we ask kids (And how to avoid them).
Oh, I should clarify, I meant how to avoid the bad questions, not how to avoid kids. Sorry to get your hopes up.

"What do you want to be when you grow up?"

Chances are, we've been asked this since we were old enough to talk. And, if you're like me, your future job changes about every month or so. I feel like almost every kid, at some point or another, wants to be a veterinarian. Am I the only one that notices this? I can't be the only one! Okay, that aside, it's rare to find a kid, or even a teenager, who actually is sure of what they would like to pursue later in life. I (finally) have narrowed my options down, but I'll never be definite. And that's okay! So, it really frustrates me when people ask what you want to be when you grow up. First of all, there are so many different ways to word this! To ask what you want to be when you grow up does not even have to relate to a career, what I mean is, when I "grow up" I want to be kind, I want to be gentle, and patient, and a Christ-serving wife and mother. That is all I want to "be".
Other questions that might be more straight-forward would be things like,

  • "Do you have any plans for the future?"
  • "Are there any specific careers or fields that interest you?"
  • Or, if the child is younger, "What kind of things would you like to do/accomplish when you're older?"
  •  "If you could have any job right now, like a grown-up, what would you choose?". 

Maybe I'm the only one who has a problem with this, or who sees any difference in these questions, but I hope it might help somebody, somehow. Personally, I feel like just a little tweaking in the question can help a child think and develop their realm of interests in a different way. Not in a bad way, just a little different than what we are usually taught to do. Or this is all crazy and stupid, that's okay, too.

"How was your day?"

So, I don't go to public school now, but that doesn't mean I avoid these types of questions. Whether it's referring to school or some other activities, let me guess, in most cases it goes like this: 
"How was your day?"
"Fine." (Or the occasional "Good.")
The end!

I guess it's just such an overused, cliche phrase that no one really knows how to answer it anymore. There's better ways to ask, and different types of questions, too. Such as...
  •  "Did you learn any cool facts today?"
  •  "Was there anything that made you laugh or smile?"
  •  "What are some things that challenged you today?"
  •  "Did you do anything nice for somebody today?" (Or did anybody do anything nice for you)
  •  "If you were a teacher, what would you teach your class about, and why?" 
  •  "Did anything really cool (or funny, scary, etc.) happen?"
  •  "If you could choose a theme song (or an emoji) to describe your day, what would it be?"
  •  "If you could re-live this day, what would you change?". 

Pretty much, the point is, almost any question is better than "how was your day?". And, maybe, when we start asking kids questions like these, they'll start looking for ways to answer on their own. Like, searching for ways to do something nice for someone during the day. 


Okay, yeah, I know I'm just a teen myself, so why am I giving this kind of advice? Mostly, it's because I'm tired of being asked these questions ever since I was little, so I'm trying to change something. But it's more than just questions, because the biggest thing that anybody can do is listen. Whether it's kids talking to each other, parents talking to kids, or any other situations, the worst thing any of us can do is show the other person that we don't care. Like, by being on your phone, for example. 
I hope this may have helped in some way, thanks for reading! I'd love to hear your feedback, and maybe even some questions you like or don't like to ask (or be asked).