As parents, it’s easy to tell our children things, and explain things, and tell them some more things! However, the way to help them think, engage their brain, and motivate them to figure things out by themselves is by asking questions. For example, instead of telling your child they need to pick up their toys because it’s dinner time, ask a question. “It’s nearly dinner time. What do you think I need you to do next?”
Questions instead of directives. Almost everything you ask your children can be turned into a question. So, instead of telling them, ask them a question.
What three things do I need you to do to get ready for bed?
Where does your book bag need to go?
When you’re finished with your chore, how do I want it to look?
We’re going to go outside and play. What do I need you to put on?
Questions to encourage compliance. When it comes to something your child might refuse, try a question in stead of a directive.
When you get ready for bed, do you want to brush your teeth before or after you put your pajamas on?
Which do you want to pick up first, your books or your toys?
As you go upstairs for your nap, do you want to walk up the stairs or crawl up?
Do you want 5 more minutes to play before dinner or 6 more minutes?
Questions instead of reminders. A question is a more subtle way to give a reminder.
How would I like you to act in the restaurant?
What would I like you to say to your friend after the party?
How do mom and dad expect you to act at Grandma and Grandpa’s house?
Is there anything else you need to do to get ready for school?
Questions to encourage self-reflection. Using questions can help your child think about things in a new way.
Why do you think it’s a good idea to look people in the eye when you meet them?
What’s a polite way to tell someone their words hurt your feelings?
What happened today that surprised you in some way?
Who did you help or say kind words to today?
Asking questions is a slightly different mindset from telling your child something. At first it might seem hard to do. But after you try it for a few days, you might be intrigued by how it’s helping your relationship with your child, and how you’re helping your child to think in new ways!