Questions To Ask Instead

Picture of Written by: Paige Neely

Written by: Paige Neely

Originally written by Shyanne Kollefrath-Dangler on Paige’s Tutoring

Recently, I saw a TikTok that mentioned questions to ask kids other than what they wanted to be when they grow up. It dived into many factors as to why the question may not be the best for children and honestly, it made sense to us. As a child, you are asked so many questions you don’t know the answers to. While this experience is a part of learning and growing, it can be nerve-wracking to a child who just doesn’t know the answer. Continually struggling to answer these questions without any stepping stones of answer-able questions can lead to some decreased confidence and can make them feel guilty for not knowing the “correct” answers.

Our tutors have offered some incredible stepping stones to help children of any age boost their simple problem solving skills with some thought provoking, positive questions. Asking future-based questions like “what do you want to be when you grow up” can make a child uncomfortable if they don’t know the answer or say something they don’t mean just to please whoever is asking. Asking constant Yes/No questions such as “did you eat today,” “did you have a good day,” and other short ended questions can also limit children in their social skills. Instead of asking those super common questions, here are some more positive questions to ask children of any age:

What are you most proud of?

Children tend to surprise people when they are asked what they are most proud of. The answer could range from helping a friend with their homework to helping build a computer or birdhouse at home. Use this question to lead into a “have you thought about being a teacher when you grow up” or “have you thought about being in IT?” Sometimes, children do not know that the career path actually exists or think it may be unattainable. Mentioning it to them will get them thinking otherwise.

What was your favorite part of today?

The answers to simple questions regarding the “now” or recent past such as the same day, can really help children of all ages learn to reflect; and even work on some mindfulness after a stressful day. Being able to recall the events of a day, big and small, can really help some children who may struggle with focusing and recall in the long run. Questions like this one can even help parents, teachers, and caregivers learn more about their children and what they like and dislike so they may be able to tweak future plans and activities.

What problems do you want to solve?

Problem solving is a huge part of school and life. Asking a child what problems they want to solve can help get their brains wired toward critical thinking and planning. Answers like “I want to help people feel better” or “I want to cure cancer” can lead to conversations such as “have you thought about being a doctor or a biological scientist?” Having the open ended option makes having a real conversation with a child easier and helps build their confidence because they feel like they are being heard.

What is something you did today that made you proud?

So many movies teach children to be proud of their accomplishments from a young age, but it’s important for children to be able to relate to this feeling, and know how and when to express it. For many younger kids, or even stubborn teens, simply trying new activities, habits, or foods can be something to be proud of — even if they don’t like it, being willing to try new things in the future will build some outward confidence that may even inspire other children. If they won a reward in an extracurricular or a spelling bee, the little act of acknowledging the accomplishment can really help a child later on.

These options are still open ended and can help build confidence in a child who may be confused when plainly asked “what do you want to be when you grow up?” Quite frankly, I do not know what I want to be when I grow up, and I’m a grown up now. Thinking of these questions though makes me consider things that are more aligned with what I want to do rather than have to do. Overall, asking these questions will help you get to the root of what a child likes to do rather than receiving an untrue answer. So next time you talk to your child, make sure you ask them one of these questions.

If you are looking for more ways to build confidence for your child, feel free to reach out to us anytime at paigestutoringllc.com or by texting/calling 480.399.8895 and we will be more than happy to help.

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