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35 Great Conversation Starters for Honest Family Discussions

people-mother-family-fatherDid you know that just talking to your baby can increase brain activity? Or that regular verbal communication may have a serious impact on their performance in school? Many psychologists believe that just speaking to children is the best thing you can do for their overall development.

Other benefits also exist. For one, it can help broaden the perspective of not only your kids, but yourself. When your kids hit those teen years, it may foster a better sense of communication and understanding during a particularly difficult developmental stage – or help you out if your child starts acting out.

Here are some ways to get those conversations started:

  1. Get their opinion on a situation happening in the world today.
  2. Ask them to name something good that happened that day, something not so good, and something that they hope happens the next day.
  3. Ask them something they learned that day, whether it was in school, or not.
  4. Inquire about their friends.
  5. Have them tell you the most perfect family vacation idea they can come up with.
  6. Bring up something interesting you read about that day, and get their opinion. Be prepared to explain it in better detail.
  7. Ask them how your family seems to be, compared to other families. What makes them different? The same?
  8. See what they think you could do as a family to strengthen your bond, and spend more time together.
  9. Find out if there are any activities they would like to begin taking part in, and why.
  10. Talk about your family line, and where you came from. If you don’t know, that may be a good project to undertake together.
  11. Encourage them to commit acts of kindness every day, and share what it was that night.
  12. Discuss ways the whole family can help improve the world around them.
  13. Ask if anyone had any interesting questions about the natural world, people, or anything else, such as how something works.
  14. Talk about your personal heroes, and why you admire them.
  15. Find out their favorite subject in class/their least favorite. Ask them what they are struggling with, and how you can help them.
  16. Ask them if something hurt their feelings that day.
  17. Ask them if something made them feel happy that day.
  18. Speak to them about bullying in their school, whether they witness it, have been a part of it (as victim or antagonist), and what they think they can do themselves to help stop it.
  19. Have them name five things they would like to do on a weekend. Use that as a list of activities to do together over the next several weeks.
  20. Brainstorm ideas for family togetherness nights, such as game nights, movie nights, walks in the evening, trips to the park, ect.
  21. Bring up serious topics such as drug abuse, alcohol use, sex, and cyber bullying. Use it as a platform for them to air out their thoughts, without judgement.
  22. Have an open question night. Let them know that nothing they ask will get them in trouble, and give the an opportunity to open up about things they have wondered about.
  23. Get a science related book, and sit down together to learn something knew about the universe.
  24. Read a book together as a family, and talk about it in a casual way. Try not to make it seem like a book report.
  25. Bring up other cultures and faiths. Have an open dialogue about the differences and similarities of each. Learn together more about each new group.
  26. Ask them what qualities they look for in a friend.
  27. Find out what qualities they think would be important to have in a romantic partner.
  28. Discover what qualities they see in themselves as especially valuable, and offer your own insights into what you appreciate most about them.
  29. Come up with random questions about the world around them: why is the sky blue? Why is grass green? How do birds fly? The answers from young children in particular can be very creative.
  30. Ask them to name a time you have hurt them. What could you have done better? How can you help them move past it now?
  31. Have each person take a turn talking about what they are grateful for in their life.
  32. Ask everyone to share a memory that makes them happy.
  33. Talk about family traditions. What ones do you have? Which should you start?
  34. Give each person a set amount of time to talk about absolutely anything they want, whether it is their feelings, something that happened that week, or Star Wars.
  35. Get ideas for the next talk: what might you discuss in the future?
35 Great Conversation Starters for Honest Family Discussions

Tyler Jacobson

Tyler enjoys going to the mountains near his home in Draper, Utah to connect with his wife and children through camping, hiking, and quality time together. When he isn’t rebooting in the outdoors, he shares his fatherly experiences with the world through writing and creative designs. Tyler shares the ups and downs of family life and the solutions he’s found through lengthy research and involvement in the industry and his own experiences to help parents everywhere. Follow Tyler on: Twitter or LinkedIn.

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APA Reference
Jacobson, T. (2018). 35 Great Conversation Starters for Honest Family Discussions. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 30, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 22 Mar 2017)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.