Starting the Year Strong Part 1 : Establishing Strong Routines


As we spend time speaking with parents, either in our living room, in a boardroom, or at a doctor’s office, we find many parents are challenged with the reality of losing touch with their adolescent kids.

We’ve been there.

For those of us committed to start the year strong, one key ingredient to a healthy family culture is to establish strong, repeatable routines. One idea for a practice we have used in our home is the question game. This activity (detailed below) is a common practice in the Miller home during different seasons of our kids’ development. Perhaps this activity is timely for your current situation. We hope this offers a starting point for an activity like the Question Game, or another version that will fit your family culture.


FIRST: Make flashcards for each of the questions below (feel free to add any questions you might come up with):

  1. What do you like to do best?

  2. What do you enjoy most about school (sports...)?

  3. Where do you prefer to spend your time?

  4. If you only got to do one thing today what would it be?

  5. What are you willing to make time for on a busy day?

  6. What are you curious about learning?

  7. What is your least favorite part of the day?

  8. What inspires you to do your best?

  9. What activities make you feel strong?

  10. What activities frustrate you?

  11. What’s your favorite subject in school?

  12. What do you and your friends enjoy doing?

  13. Do you have any questions for us parents?

  14. Are there any rules that you think are unfair?

  15. What are you most proud of?

  16. If you could ask a famous person one question who would it be and what would you ask?

  17. Who is a leader you admire and why do they inspire you?

  18. If you could be anything you wanted to be in life, what would it be and why?

  19. What do you enjoy doing to serve others, how could you do this more often?

  20. When do you find yourself the most grateful, why do you think that is?

  21. Is there someone in your life you wish you could get to know closer, who?

  22. Where would you like to see your life in the next ten years?

  23. What do you what to be most known for when you are an older person?

  24. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be and why?

Once you have your questions, follow the steps below to play the game.

  1. At the table, place the cards upside down and shuffle the deck.

  2. Have each family member select a card and then give each person time to share their question and answer.

  3. Ask each person to share how their answer relates to one of their strengths or a part of their personality.

  4. Repeat two or three more rounds as time permits.

  5. Playing this game on a regular basis is an excellent way to learn more about your kids. We recommend monthly games.

John Maxwell says, “great leaders ask great questions.” So we figure the best way to stay in touch with your adolescent and continue to exercise leadership with influence in their lives is to ask them great questions on a regular basis. We hope this game serves as another helpful parenting tool, fostering close relationship and revealing the heart and passions of every member of your family. I wager your children will enjoy and grow from hearing your responses as much as you eagerly await their answers.

Brandon Miller