What to Do When Your Kids Won’t Answer Questions

Whenever we ask our kids a question, whenever we try to get them to open up, there are two dreaded responses:

  • Silence
  • “I don’t know.”

When this keeps happening, we should first check that we aren’t asking boring questions. Or that we are asking questions that deserve to be asked. They need to be worth the effort and breath we are expending.

You don’t ask a high school class what color the sky is and expect anyone to raise their hand. They all know the answer. The question is just pointless.

But sometimes, kids just need a primer. They might be timid because they don’t want to get the answer wrong. Or they don’t want to look stupid.

Here is what you can do to mitigate that, as a parent or as a teacher: start answering the question yourself with either the most obvious answer or the craziest answer.

Giving a crazy answer will get them to react. They’ll either laugh and give their own crazy answer or they’ll laugh and give a good answer.

That’s a win/win.

Example: What did Cinderella want most?

“To eat a giant pumpkin!”

Giving an obvious answer that breaks the ice and lets them know that any answer is acceptable. You’re not looking for a special “correct” answer, you just want them to think.

Example: How are you most like Cinderella?

“You both have eyes. You’re both people. You both wear clothes.”

This can open up the floodgates and can sweep your family along to deeper discussions.

Most importantly, have fun.

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