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8/15/22blog post

use these questions to support your kids' budding friendships

Your kids will likely meet the majority of their friends and learn about interpersonal relationships while at school and in the classroom. As parents, we know that friendships and relationships can come with challenges. We often want to step in and protect our kids from any heartache or relationship struggles but, unfortunately, we can’t. What we can do is build a strong foundation for having conversations with our kids so that they will feel free to come to us and share whenever they face challenges with frenemies, bullies, being a new kid, or trying to make new friends.  

Whether your kid is a social butterfly or more on the shy side, in this article you’ll find the perfect questions to get your kids opening up and sharing their thoughts with you. There is also a challenge for every age group to get any kid out of their shell and make connections in the classroom:  

in this article: 

  1. Questions to ask your preschooler 
  2. Questions to ask your early elementary student 
  3. Questions to ask your upper elementary student 
  4. Questions to ask your middle school student
  5. Questions to ask your high schooler 

preschool

Questions:  

  • Can you tell me the name of one person in your class? What are they like?  
  • What is your favorite thing to do during your free time at school? Is there a classmate that enjoys that same activity? 

Challenge 

  • Today, can you ask one person in your class what their favorite color is and tell us at dinner time what you found out? 

early elementary

 

Questions:  

  • Who did you play with at recess today? What did you all do? 
  • Do you ever have any challenges with classmates at school? What happens usually, can you tell me more about that? 

Challenge:  

  • Today, can you invite one classmate that you don’t usually play with to play with you at recess? 

upper elementary

Questions: 

  • What do you do when someone makes fun of another kid at school? How does seeing another kid being made fun of make you feel? 
  • Were you kind to someone today, and can you tell me more about that? 

Challenge:  

  • Can you give a compliment to one of your classmates at school today? Tonight, at dinner, let the family know what you said and what happened. 

middle school

Questions: 

  • Who are your friends?  
  • What do you enjoy doing with your friends? 
  • What do you do when you see someone making fun of another kid at school?  
  • How does it make you feel to see other kids being made fun of at school?  

Challenge:  

  • Learn something new about a friend today and come home to tell us. Here are some ideas for questions you can ask them:  
    • If you could get 3 wishes granted what would they be? 
    • What is something I don’t know about you?  
    • If you could meet anyone in the world who would it be?  

high school

Questions: 

  • Who are your friends? What do you enjoy doing with them? 
  • Are there any friendships you feel are fading away? How do you feel about that? 

Challenge: 

  • Do you want to invite someone over today to hang out? You all can stay here or I’ll give you a ride! 

having successful conversations 

These conversation starters are just the beginning of having successful conversations with your kids. If at first you don't succeed, don't be afraid to try again and again. Building trust and a foundation can take time. If you're looking for more tips on starting conversations, read our step-by-step guide to get kids talking. Then, if you're looking for more conversation starters, use this free resource with more than 50 conversation starter topics. 

If you’re looking for more ways to support others and discuss mental health,  join the movement of On Our Sleeves. We believe that no family should struggle alone in their journey with mental health. Check out more resources and guides, here.   

Emily Weitz, BSW, LSW

Community Behavioral Health Outreach Specialist
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