As an Au pair, you’re likely to know the foods your host kid refuses to eat, and those they eat hungrily. You know faces they make when they’re sad, and the way of expressing surprise, anger, happiness.
However, kids are constantly changing and developing new preferences, fears, thoughts, and emotions. Therefore, to continue to know your host kid(s), you need to keep asking questions to start conversations.
A simple question like, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” seems like it might not offer too much insight, but if you continue to encourage a discussion about the topic, you might be surprised as to what you can learn.
These conversation starters can even help develop characteristics that are important for child to possess, such as gratitude, imagination, empathy, and confidence.
Bring up these questions during long car rides, as sleep-over games, at the dinner table or in another location when the kid can focus on the conversation. You might even make a little game out of it—print out the questions, cut them up so they’re on individual strips of paper and have a child pick out a question or two to discuss each night. This is really great for improving kid’s speaking skills!
Asking specific questions about child’s dreams, emotions, and values can give you great insight into the individual that they are growing.
Here are some conversation starters that can help you get to know your host child on a deeper level and to boost his knowledge of English:
1. What is your favorite part of the day?
2. Who did you play with at school?
3. How were you kind to someone today?
4. What are you proud of?
5. What are you thankful for?
6. What’s one good thing you’re really good at?
7. Who is the nicest person you know?
8. Which relative do you love seeing the most?
9. What are you looking forward to this month/week?
10. How would you change the world when you grow up?
11. What could your family do that would make the world better?
12. What superpower would you like to have?
13. If you could only keep one toy, which toy would it be?
14. Pretend you could be the teacher. What rules would you have in the classroom?
15. If you could be an animal, which one would you be?
16. Would you rather be at the pool or the beach?
17. If we spent time alone, what would you want to do / or where would you want to go?
18. Let’s say you could be any age. What age would you be?
19. If you could be any cartoon character, who would you be?
20. How does a good friend act?
21. What do you think makes a family close?
22. What makes you feel happy?
23. How do you cheer yourself up when you feel bad?
24. What’s your favorite book?
25. What’s your favorite meal?
26. What do you like best about your parents?
27. What’s your favorite thing to do as a family?
28. What’s your favorite thing about mom and dad?
29. What do you like best about school?
30. What’s your favorite holiday of the year?
31. What’s your favorite room in your home?
32. Who is your best friend and why?
33. What’s your most embarrassing moment?
34. If you could make three family rules, what would they be?
35. What do you like best about your siblings?
36. If you wrote a book, what would it be about?
37. If your pets could talk, what would they say?
38. What color is the happiest color? What makes it happy?
39. If you won $100, what would you do with it?
40. If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?
41. What feeling do you think is most uncomfortable? Embarrassment, anger, fear, or something else?
42. Where would you like to live someday? A house in the country, an apartment in the city, on a farm, in a mansion, in an RV that travels around, or somewhere else?
Questions and conversation starters should be natural, not an interrogation. If you rapidly fire questions at child, he’ll be more likely to shut down.
Spend time talking about his thoughts and ideas and show that you’re interested in hearing what he has to say. Child will relish your conversations together when he realizes that you value his opinion, even when it’s different from your own.