Essay Questions for Kids

I’m going to go ahead and just write all the questions I used for each of the boys, but some of them have obviously been personalized to my kids and their experiences, or maybe books they have read recently.  One of the great things about this idea was that if there was something I specifically wanted to know, about what they were thinking our how they were feeling about something, this was the perfect opening.  Although, sometimes when I was fishing for something specific, I didn’t get any satisfactory response, whereas other less targeted questions yielded great insights.   Just as a disclaimer, there were some questions I didn’t worry about asking Cameron, but I wasn’t comfortable asking Eli. So I just suggest being thoughtful and deliberate about your kids and their needs.  

Also, some of the questions are political and some are religious.  I also let them write about a book they have just finished or once in awhile they choose their own topic.  

I hope if you try this with your kids you’ll find it as rewarding as I have. And I’m always in need of new questions- so if you think of any post them in the comments! 

CAMERON: Age 10 

– What do we mean when we say “the grass is greener on the other side of the fence?”
– What causes you to feel afraid? Do you feel fear about non-physical things?
– What is something about yourself that you don’t like?
– What is respect? Who deserves it? How do you show it or give it?
– If you could have been someone in history, who would you have been? 
– If you could do whatever you wanted, right now, what would you do?
– If you could be in the Guinness Book of Records, what would it be for?
– What does the phrase “personal responsibility” mean to you?
– Describe a time when you felt very angry. 
– What is violence? Do you think there is too much violence on T.V. and in video games?
– What are some reasons for not drinking alcohol?
– Is bullying a problem at your school? If it is, why do you think so? If it is not, why do you think so?
– How old should you be to have a smart phone? Why?
– What is racism? Why are some people racist?
– How do we determine if one culture is better than another?
– Why is racism a problem? What can you do?
– Do violent video games make people more violent in real life? 
– What are your favorite movies?
– What makes a good commercial?
– Do moms and dads expect different things from their sons and daughters? 
– Why aren’t there more girls as leaders in countries, government and businesses? 
– When should a government decide to solve problems using the military?
– What is gratitude? How does it make us feel more happy?
– What does it mean to be a good listener?
– If you could travel back in time to your nine year old self, what advice would you give about moving to London?
– Who is a person you know that seems the most Christ-like?
– Is it easy for you to pray? How do you picture God?
– How should parents handle a bad report card?
– Are your parents too protective? Not protective enough? Or just right? How do they protect you?
– Is the UK a great country?
– What stops you from being kind to other people?
– What are some qualities of a good leader?
– What song lyrics do you love?
– If you could invite anyone to dinner, who would you invite? What would you talk about?
– Could you understand what it was like for Malala to move from her country to England? What feelings did you have in common with her?
– What rights and freedoms do you have that are important to you?
– What opinions do you have that are the same as your family?
– What opinions do you have that are different than your family?
– What are the advantages and disadvantages of being the oldest?
– Are there times when it is best to not to speak out, and times when it is best to make your voice heard?​

ELI- Age 8

– What do you like most about yourself?
– What historical figure do you admire?
– What does it mean to be brave? Have you ever done something brave?
– What is one of your life goals? What will it take to accomplish it?
– What makes you feel safe?
– What does kindness mean to you? How does it make you feel to give it and receive it?
– Is it easy or hard for you to make decisions? Why?
– If you were a mouse in our house in the evening, what would you see you family do?
– If you make a mess, who cleans it up?
– If there were no rules, what would happen in your city?
– Why does God give commandments?
– Why do you think the ability to focus is an important quality?
– What do you think the world will be like in 50 years?
– How does your school deal with students who misbehave? Do you think it works?
– Does it matter how many kids are in a class? 
– Does technology make us more alone? 
– Why is it important for people to care about one another?
– Why is cultural diversity important?
– Why do we need art in our lives?
– What are your favorite books and authors?
– Do you think boys and girls should have different jobs or responsibilities?
– Does having a lot of money make you happy?
– Which is more important, talent or hard work?
– Do people complain too much?
– Is it important to live in a clean house?
– What makes a good friend?
– When was a time that your feelings were hurt?
– What is the hardest part about being eight?
– Who is your favorite aunt or uncle? (Don’t ask me why I chose this question- but Eli wrote the sweetest most diplomatic answer about how it would be rude to choose a favorite and he loved all his aunts and uncles.) 
– If you could be an animal for a day, what would you be? 
– How much food does your family waste?
– How do your parents teach you to behave? Do you agree with it?
– Is America a great country?
– Each day people do things to you that make you feel sad or angry. What are those things? How do you forgive?
– What are the best things about being part of a big family?
– What do you want to be when you grow up?
– What is your favorite season?
– Why does your brain experience fear? How does this help you? How does it hurt you? 
– What are some ways to help you handle fear?

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