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Bedtime Questions

August 21, 2012

written by Cathy Baker, mom of two amazing ‘tween daughters, from Missouri

At some point during my children’s early elementary years, and perhaps even during their preschool years – I discovered the secret to getting them to really open up and talk about their day.  The secret is in the TIMING. You see at bedtime, when they want to do anything possible to stall going to bed, I found they LOVE talking and answering my questions!!

At first I started asking them these questions to get them to process their feelings about their day, but really, it’s been so much more than that. It’s help to build relationship. It’s become an easy way to continue communication – about all kinds of things. Here is a sample list of questions I like to ask –

  • Tell me what made you laugh today.
  • What were you proud of today?
  • Did anything make you angry today?
  • What did you do that was helpful today?
  • Tell me about something that made you sad today.
  • Did you learn something new today?
  • When were you disappointed today?
  • What made you really happy today.
  • Were you scared about anything today?
  • Did you ask a good question today?
  • Did you hear a good joke today?

I don’t ask ALL these questions EVERY night. In fact sometimes I go months without asking questions, then we start up again.  I’ve found this is a non-threatening way to get them to open up about things on their mind. And they get to stay up later, so they keep talking! :)

I knew this was a ‘good thing’ – but I didn’t realize how ‘powerful’ it was until I was putting my daughter to bed on the first day of middle school.  I asked her, “So, anything else you want to tell me about your day?” and she responded, “ask me the questions!”  So I did! And I discovered several ‘new’ things about her day that she hadn’t immediately shared when she got home.  I LOVE that we can talk and enjoy a conversation. That we can go from laughter and discussing deeper issues within a matter of minutes.

Added bonus: Sometimes they like to ask you the same questions in return! :)

So, what questions will you be asking at bedtime tonight?!

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  1. RLR

      on August 21, 2012 6:53 pm

    My daughter just started 1st grade at a new school, leaving her brother behind at the “old” school they had been attending. She enjoys her new school and seems to slowly be making some friends (it’s only the 5th day). Unfortunately, she’s usually just as tight-lipped as her brother. Thanks for a few questions I can add to my arsenal. I *love* the tip about asking them at bedtime!


  2. Julie R.

      on August 22, 2012 8:56 am

    If you have a kid who is a reluctant giver of information (ie my son), it helps to play the game 2 truths and a lie. They tell you three things and you have to guess which one is the lie. (of course in the meantime you also find out two truths about their day….yeah sneaky aren’t I. =)
    It also helps to get things rolling by you telling 2 truths and a lie about your day as well and have them guess. Sometimes my son enjoys hearing about my day, because it also seems a mystery that I do anything at all when he isn’t around. LOL


  3. Cathy Baker

      on August 22, 2012 9:43 am

    @RLR – Glad you were inspired! Hope you have some sweet bedtime conversations in the days (and years!) to come!

    @Julie R. – Great idea! My girls play that from time to time just for fun, but love your creativity in using in purposefully to get more info about their day! :)

    ALSO, a few more questions I asked at our bedtime last night…
    – What surprised you today?
    – Did anything disappoint you today?
    – Did you talk to anyone new today?
    – What did you wonder about today?


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