18 things to ask your kids instead of 'How are you?'

They say talk is cheap, but when it comes to your relationship with your kids, nothing could be more valuable than meaningful conversation.

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  • They say talk is cheap, but when it comes to your relationship with your kids, nothing could be more valuable than meaningful conversation. Chances are, your teen is facing problems and challenges you've never dreamed of. If you're looking to open the lines of communication, it's time to ask the right questions.

  • 1. Who did something nice for you?

  • In an age of entitlement, appreciation is sometimes easily lost. Help your child find it.

  • 2. What did you do nice for someone else?

  • And, of course, focusing on your child's good deeds will help him understand the importance of serving others.

  • 3. What was the best thing about today?

  • Whether he broke the mile-run record in P.E. or just really liked the cafeteria lunch menu, ask him to talk about the best part of his day.

  • 4. Who did you hang out with?

  • You know your kid, but do you know his friends? Who he's spending his time with is just as important as how he's spending his time.

  • 5. Who did you text today?

  • Monitoring your child's phone usage isn't just your right, it's your responsibility. According to CNN, more than half of undergraduate students confessed they sexted as teens, meaning you've got more reason than ever to pry.

  • 6. What did you read today?

  • If you've got a bookworm on your hand, encourage it. Research shows that kids from homes with at least 20 books get three years more education than kids from bookless homes.

  • 7. What was your biggest challenge today?

  • When it comes to problems, teens can be pretty "mum" about their own. Open the doors of communication by asking them specifically what was tough about their day.

  • 8. Which teacher is your least favorite?

  • If your child is hating a certain class or teacher, there's probably a reason, and a little digging might help you pinpoint the problem.

  • 9. What made you laugh today?

  • Got a child with a penchant for a pun or a silly streak a mile wide? Encourage it. KidsHealth reports that a good sense of humor is valuable for kids because it can help them grasp unconventional ideas and see things from another perspective, among other benefits.

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  • 10. What was the best part of today?

  • No day is perfect, so teach your child to focus on the positive.

  • 11. Which rules at school do you hate?

  • Hating a few rules are part of being a kid, so let your child know it's OK to confide in you.

  • 12. What social media sites did you use today?

  • From Facebook to Twitter to Snapchat to Instagram, staying up with the latest social craze can be exhausting. But research shows that 81 percent of teens use social media. It's your duty to know how they're using it. WebSafety is an app that can help you stay up-to-date in your child's online world, allowing you to know the URLs and sites your children view. This can empower you with awareness and give you a way to talk about tough topics your children face. Download the app to receive alerts about your child's social media behavior.

  • 13. What do you talk about online?

  • Knowing which platform your kids are using isn't enough. Internet Safety 101 reports that 95 percent of social media-using teens have witnessed cyberbullying. Find out if your child is witnessing it, initiating it or suffering from it.

  • 14. What did you eat today?

  • Not sure where that lunch money is going? With childhood obesity on the rise, it's time to find out.

  • 15. What's the trendiest thing at school right now?

  • Feel like you're living on a different planet than your teen? Step into her territory.

  • 16. What do you hope to learn this year?

  • Learning is an exciting venture, so help your child see learning as an adventure.

  • 17. What would you change about today?

  • Every day is a new beginning. If something is making your child worried, stressed out, anxious or sad, it's time to take action. Remember, you won't be able to help your child if you don't know what's bothering him.

  • 18. Did you see anything interesting online?

  • The Internet is chock-full of the fascinating, the crazy, the hilarious and the dangerous. Give your kids the OK to tell you about all of it.

  • If "how was your day?" isn't enough to get your kids talking, maybe it's time to change the conversation. And if you're interested in learning more about your child's online activity, try WebSafety, an app for parents that allows them to monitor their child's online activity and receive real-time notifications on all mobile device activity.

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  • WebSafety alerts parents about cyberbullying, inappropriate behavior, and more. Visit WebSafety's Kickstarter page to learn more.

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Kristen has a journalism degree and has experience writing in a variety of fields, including art and culture, health and fitness and financial and real estate services. Kristen has written for USA Today, SFGate and the Knot.

Website: https://www.facebook.com/kradfordprice

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