Most children talk more openly at night because their defenses are down after a long day before they go to sleep. Parents who are consistent with a bedtime ritual will find that their children will talk openly during bedtime. Questions should be concrete yet interesting and thoughtful so that you take advantage of your kid's guard being down. One way to get them to open up is to give examples from your life.
For example: “I had a hard time today when my boss did not tell me what a great job I did on my project. I worked really hard on it. Do you ever feel that way at school with your teacher? Give me an example.”
Younger children can be coaxed easily into talking by using “stuffies” as puppets. Usually kids under the age of 8 or 9 love this but even kids age 12 and older have “stuffies” and at times they will engage with them and you. Questions should demonstrate an interest in getting to know your child. It may not seem like it but kids want to share and talk about themselves. They just don't know how to and as parents we have to teach them. Here are some questions:
1. If you could wish for anything, what would you wish for and why?
2. What do you see yourself doing when you are my age?
3. Did you have to do anything that scared you today and how did you get through it?
4. If you could be an animal what would you be and why?
5. Name one thing that you did well today that you're proud of.
6. Name one thing that you know will happen that you look forward to most tomorrow and why.
7. What's the best book that we read and who's your favorite character? Why?
8. If you could change anything about yourself, what would it be?
9. Who do you feel closest to in the whole world and why?
10. What do you like most about your best friend?
11. What is one thing you would like to learn to do that you have not done?
12. What would you do if someone hurt your friend’s feelings and why?
13. What would you do if you saw your best friend cry?
14. What makes you the happiest?
15. What's the thing you do best?
16. What was the most difficult part of your day (or this week) and why? How did you handle it and did you feel better after? Would you do something different next time?
17. Who would you most like to be like and why?
18. Who do you think looks up to you and why?