Shop
01551

Why ask kids open-ended questions

 
Through the use of language and open-ended questioning we as parents are able to expand our children's curiosity and ability to reason, their creativity, thinking ability and independence. Open-ended questions have no right or wrong answers, but help to broaden children’s thinking processes, to develop their speech and language skills, and to build confidence in their ability to express themselves using words.

Through the use of language and open-ended questioning we as parents are able to expand our children's curiosity and ability to reason, their creativity, thinking ability and independence.

Children who are taught to think about things at an early age through open-ended questions are better equipped to understand the world around them, and relate this new information to past or present experiences.

Open-ended questions have no right or wrong answers, but help to broaden children’s thinking processes, to develop their speech and language skills, and to build confidence in their ability to express themselves using words.
 

Why ask open-ended questions

Using open-ended questions has many benefits and they help to:

  • encourage children to think beyond the obvious.
 
  • encourage children to think of as many possibilities as they can, before deciding upon the best or most appropriate answer.
 
  • increase co-operation and understanding.
 
  • allow children to include more information, feelings, attitudes and understanding of the topic.
 
  • provide children with opportunities explain or describe, thereby expanding and developing their speech, language and vocabulary.
 
  • can require children to recall recent or past events which develops their short and long-term memory skills.
 
  • require adults to listen attentively to children’s responses and this shows the children that what they are saying is important.
 

Using open-ended questions


Ask "what" questions to start a conversation. Point to an item and say "what is this?" or "what is this called?"

Repeat what your child says and let your child know his or her answer is right by repeating it, “Yes, that is a cat.”

Extend on what the child says, but keep the phrases short and simple to ensure that the child is able to imitate what you've said.

For example, “Yes, that is a black cat”. The conversation can continue. "What is the cat doing?" "Yes, it looks like the cat is sleeping".

The older the child, the more extensive the questions can become.

There are no right or wrong questions or answers, but caregivers should ensure that they ask children questions in a way that they can comprehend them, so that even if they cannot provide an answer, they can still think about it.

Open-ended questions often start with “why”, “how”, or phrases like “I would like to know more about”, “Tell me about”, or “I am interested in hearing more about.” 

Asking open- ended questions is a habit you can adapt using a few tricks.
 

Starting open-ended questions:


Here are 9 easy  ways to start an open-ended question:

1. What would happen if...

2. What do you think about...

3. I wonder...

4. In what way...

5. Tell me about...

6. How can we...

7. What would you do...

8. How did you...

9. Why do you think…

After asking a child an open-ended question, allow quiet time for them to think before responding to your comment or question. Young children often need extra time to decide what to say and how to say it.

Try to use open-ended questions to start a conversation with your child and not just to gather information.

The most interesting conversations with children are often those that result from a sequence of open-ended questions that move the discussion and reveal responses that you would never have imagined.

Closed questions

Closed questions encourage a one word or short answer and there is also usually only one correct answer to the question.

Caregivers can use closed questions to determine what a child already knows and this can be a starting point for further learning.

Closed questions are therefore, appropriate in certain situations and it is up to the caregiver to assess when to use each type of question.

Here are some examples of open-ended and closed-ended questions:

Example 1

  • Closed:  Did you have fun at daycare?
  • Open:  Tell me about your day at daycare.

Example 2
  • Closed:  Did you make these cupcakes?
  • Open:  How did you make these cupcakes?

Example 3
  • Closed: What is your favorite movie?
  • Open:  I would love to hear about your favorite movie.

Example 4
  • Closed: Did you hit your brother?
  • Open: Why is your brother crying? Tell me what happened.


Check out our other Hot Topics on:
Source: This article was written by Emma Loggenberg from Tuputupu Kids.
Enquire

You might also be interested in ...

15 practical skills to learn before starting school

15 practical skills to learn before starting school

Starting primary school is often one of the most exciting times in your child’s life, but it can be an anxious time too. Help prepare them with some basic practical skills before they start. All children are different, but being able to do even a handful of things by themselves will help them feel more confident when they get there.
How gender affects kids learning & play

How gender affects kids learning & play

We take a look at children’s play choices and what we can do as parents and caregivers to help change gender stereotypes and encourage learning without bias.

join us

Join us on social media for all our latest news.
facebook twitter pinterest
 

sign up

Sign up and receive our latest newsletters.
First/Last Name
Email
Town/City
 

contact us

mailinfo@under5s.co.nz
phone09 376 4408
PO Box 147429
Ponsonby
Auckland 1144

advertise with us