Ask Open-Ended Questions
If you ask a child, did you have a good day at school, they’re going to respond in one of two ways: with a yes or no. Compare that question to, What was your favorite part of school today?
Close-ended questions aren’t inherently bad, but they don’t cultivate open communication. And while people can still respond, I don’t know, to an open-ended question, there’s a better chance of them providing you with an actual answer.
Ask For Help
Most people love to be helpful, so asking for direct support is a great way to foster a connection with someone.
You can initiate this conversation by saying, I need help with this issue I’ve been dealing with at work. Would you be willing to give me some feedback? For younger kids, you might say something like, I don’t know what to make for dinner. What do you think we should have tonight?
The help can also be practical. You might say, I left my bag by the front door. Would you mind getting it for me?