When we question children, it is important to choose our words carefully. The language we use can greatly affect the responses we get and can impact a childs self-esteem.
Avoid using negative language or phrasing questions in a way that suggests there is a right or wrong answer. Instead, try to use open-ended questions that encourage children to express themselves and explore their thoughts and feelings.
Start your question with the words ‘what’ or ‘how’, rather than ‘why’. When we use the word ’why’ this allows the child to give us their opinion, whereas using what or how will encourage them to give us facts.
Sometimes children will answer “I don’t know”. Here you can try using the word ‘if’.
For example “But, ’if’ you did know, what might it be.
And remember always listen actively and provide a safe and supportive space for them to share their ideas and perspectives. By using positive and inclusive language, we can help children feel heard, valued, and empowered.
Using the right words is just as important as asking the right questions.