Asking open-ended questions is an effective way to get a child or young person to talk about their thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Open-ended questions encourage conversation and can help to build rapport with the child. However, some children and young people may be difficult to engage in conversation. In this article, we will discuss the importance of open-ended questions in getting a child to talk and provide some ideas on how to engage a child who isn’t very talkative.
The Importance of Open-Ended Questions:
Open-ended questions are questions that require more than a simple “yes” or “no” answer. They encourage the child to think and share their own thoughts and feelings. By asking open-ended questions, you are showing the child that you are interested in what they have to say, and you are giving them the space to express themselves in their own way. This can help to build trust and encourage the child to open up and share more.
Research has also shown that the use of open-ended questions can improve communication between children and parents or caregivers. In a study published in the Journal of Pediatric Nursing, researchers found that open-ended questions were associated with increased child communication and that the use of these types of questions improved the quality of communication between children and parents (Fisher, Feeney, & Brown, 2017).
In another study published in the Journal of Child and Family Studies, researchers found that open-ended questions were associated with greater emotional understanding and empathy in parents (Murray, 2016). This suggests that the use of open-ended questions can not only improve communication with children and young people, but can also improve the emotional connection between parents and children.
Here are some examples of open-ended questions you could ask a child to help them talk about their emotions:
Remember, the key to open-ended questions is to allow the child to share their thoughts and feelings in their own way and at their own pace. You can also follow up with additional questions to help clarify or expand on what the child is saying, but be sure to avoid leading questions or putting words in their mouth.
By asking open-ended questions and creating a safe and supportive environment, you can help the child to explore and express their emotions, which can be an important part of their overall emotional development.