15 Engaging Questions to Ask Around the Dinner Table

Try these family questions to include your littles.

The minds of preschoolers and elementary students are still developing from concrete thinkers to abstract thinkers. Keep the questions simple, and be sure to follow up with questions to further engage your child.

Listen to your child’s answer and what is left unsaid. There might be a nugget of truth or hurt from their day that could use some additional discussion or unpacking.

10. “Three things: What made you sad, mad, and glad?”

Our kids loved the repetition of this question, and the rhyming helped them remember the three words. At least once a week, they could expect me to ask this. We want to communicate that it’s common for positive and negative things to happen during the day, and the wide range of emotions is normal. Consider following up with a question focused on what your child did about the situation.

11. “Thumbs up; thumbs down. What type of day did you have?”

Questions don’t always need to be answered verbally. Physical learners appreciate the opportunity to answer with their bodies. Of course, feel free to ask each child to explain why they chose thumbs up, thumbs down, or thumbs sideways.

12. “How were you a good friend to someone today?”

Help your kids think about and see the needs of others. Whether your child sat with someone new at lunch, lent a pencil to a student who couldn’t find theirs, or helped a teacher pick up spilled papers, encourage them to continue seeing ways to be a help.

13. “What is your God sighting from today?”

This might take a bit of practice. Help your child begin to look for and notice the good in the world and how God is at work. This can be in nature (sunshine and birds singing), relationships (finding a new friend), provision (food and school supplies), or anything else your child notices.

14. “Think of two things that made you smile today.”

Especially preschoolers who are learning their numbers love to come up with more than one answer. Consider holding up two fingers as you ask the question. Sometimes a child can easily think of one answer but two can be a little challenging.

15. “Do you think [Teacher’s Name] had a good day today? Why?”

Again, this helps your child see his or her day from a different perspective. You may receive responses such as how well-behaved the class was or when the teacher needed to overcome a challenge.

Around the dinner table, in the car, or anywhere else you’re able to find a spare minute, consider these table topics for families to engage your child and find new ways to connect. And, consider these questions to ask your spouse (other than, “How was your day today?”).


Janna Firestone
Janna lives in Northern Colorado with her husband and two teenage boys. You’ll often find her hiking, paddleboarding, or enjoying a good board game indoors. She's an unapologetic Dallas Cowboys fan, and an even bigger fan of coffee, dry shampoo, and authentic conversations.

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