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An elementary aged girl opens up to her children's ministry volunteer.
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4 Topics to Get Kids Talking and Opening Up to You

Looking to get the kids in your ministry to open up? Here’s a helpful strategy you can use to get kids to talk. 


“Yeah,” “Nah,” or “I dunno” seem to be kids’ go-to answers when we ask questions. The key to getting kids to talk is to dig into what really matters to them, and to do it without closed-ended questions. I use a mental tool to “FISH” for information when I’m thinking of what to ask a child, and I start my questions with phrases like: “Tell me about…” Here are the basics of FISH.

4 Topics to Get Kids Talking and Opening Up to You

Family

Kids’ parents, guardians, siblings, cousins, and even pets can be their whole world. By asking about family, you’ll learn when kids are dealing with divorce, how their families interact and spend time together, or if they’re facing other challenges.

Interests

What are your kids interested in learning more about? They may be interested in another state or country they’ve visited, or they may be interested in a subject, such as nature or science. Maybe they collect bugs or rocks or follow a certain celebrity. Asking questions about interests can give you a point of connection, or it can help you connect kids who have common interests.

School

Don’t assume every child hates school; it’s a huge part of kids’ lives, and many kids enjoy sharing their favorite subjects and the successes they’ve had. And if a child says recess is his or her favorite part of school, find out what the child does during recess. You may also offer prayer to kids who are struggling with an aspect of school.

Hobbies

These are different from interests— not just things kids want to learn more about but activities kids actively pursue. Do kids participate in sports, dance, or musical activities? Finding out what activities they’re involved in can give you insight into what they’re good at. Plus, it shows you how you can highlight their talents in your program. It can also help you find out when kids are stressed or overscheduled.

Good questions help us see the uniqueness of each child. Getting your kids to talk to you helps you increase your influence as your relationship grows, and it helps you gain insights to better minister to them.

A headshot of Karl Bastian.Karl Bastian is the founder of Kidology.org and host of KidminTalk.com. As a children’s pastor, speaker, and entertainer, his passion is to equip and encourage those who minister to children.

Looking for more teaching tips? Check out these ideas!


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4 Topics to Get Kids Talking and Open...

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