Friday, January 14, 2011

Questions to Ask Your Sponsored Child

Earlier this week, I wrote an article sharing topics to write about when composing a letter to your sponsored child.  Today I'll be expanding a little more about things you should ask your sponsored child.  Each letter you send should contain a few basic questions for your child to answer.  Otherwise, his letters to you will probably look something like this:

Hello _________,
My name is _________.  I was born on __________.  I am trying hard at school.  I am in grade ______.  I pray for you often. God bless you for being my sponsor.
Love, ________

Part of the joy of sponsoring a child is the relationship you will form together.  If you struggle to think of what to say to your sponsored lavin receiving her letter from jpgchild, imagine what he must feel!  He probably can't even imagine the life that you have.  You're probably wealthier than the wealthiest person he knows.  You live in a mysterious, rich place to children in third world countries.  When you ask your child simple questions, he'll be able to better know what to write about in his letters.  By asking specific questions to your child, you will also be able to figure out things about his life.

Be sure not to ask too many questions in each letter or your child might feel overwhelmed.  Keep the letter simple, asking only three or four questions at the most, but sharing a few things about your life as well.

Here are some ideas of what to ask your sponsored child:

1. How old are you/what grade are you in? - Often, children will already share this, but if your child doesn't, go ahead and ask her.  Avoid asking what your child's birthday is, because birthdays aren't often celebrated or even known in third world countries.

2. How many people are in your family? - Ask about parents, brothers, and sisters.  Ask how many people live in your child's home.  If your child is an orphan, avoid talking much about the subject of his deceased family members.

3. Who is your best friend? - Every child has a best friend or two.  Your child will most likely be eager to tell you about the person she loves the most.  Ask why she loves her best friend.  Ask what they talk about when they're together.

4. What is your favorite game/sport?

5. What is your favorite class at school?

6. What is your favorite chore? - As odd as this may seem, many children in developing countries enjoy helping their families with basic chores.

7. What is your schedule at school? - Ask your child to describe his day at school.  What classes does he have?  What time does he wake up in the morning and go to bed at night?

8. What is the weather like where you live? - Is it hot, cold, rainy, dry?  What is your child's favorite weather?

9. What is your favorite Bible verse/story? - Be sure to share one of yours as well.

10. What is your favorite part of church? - If you sponsor a child with a Christian organization, then your child will most likely attend church.  Ask your child what she is learning.

11. What is your favorite food? - Be prepared to have to Google your child's favorite food.  It may be something native to his country, like ugali.

12. What is your favorite animal? - Nearly all children love to talk about animals.  You could ask other simple questions like that, such as your child's favorite color, flower, number, etc.

13. What does your house/school/church look like? - Ask your child to describe where he lives and goes to school.  You could even ask her to draw you a picture.  This will help you better understand the conditions in which your child lives.

14. What are you learning in school? - See what kind of education your child is getting.  Avoid talking about grades and test scores so your child won't feel inadequate if she makes poor grades.

15. What are some of your favorite family memories? - Share a family memory or two of your own.  Getting your sponsored child to talk about family memories is a great way to catch a glimpse of his life and family relationships.

16. What do you want to be when you grow up?

17. What makes you laugh? - Your child may end up telling you some bizarre joke that you don't understand because of the culture difference, but this will also help you look into your child's life and personality.

18. Do you have any prayer requests? - While you should definitely be praying for your child already, your child may be struggling with some specific things that you could pray for.  Letting your child know that you're praying for her can also help strengthen your relationship.

19. Write a story together. - You and your sponsored child can each write a sentence or two of an ongoing story.  This is a great way to keep up an interactive relationship.

20. Play games together. - Start an ongoing game of tic-tac-toe or a word search.  This is another great way to bond with your child.


If nothing seems to work, perhaps you could print out a little survey that asks easy questions.  Your child could fill out the survey and send it back to you in a letter.  Write to your child with drawings and ask him to send drawings back.  Make note cards with a question and your answer on one side.  Your child can send the note card back to you with an answer written on the back.

What things do you ask your sponsored child?  What is the cutest thing your child has ever said to you in a letter?


  1. About a year ago, I started just putting a couple of questions at the end of our letters. Something like this:
    I have a couple of questions for you:
    ~How often do you go to your project?
    ~How long does it take you to get there?
    ~How long do you stay each day?

    Since we switched to doing it that way, instead of having them throughout the letters, we have gotten a lot more of them answered.

    All in all, though, with our 7 Compassion kids, some just do not ever answer specific questions. I've found that certain countries just don't put as much into letter writing as others. It is good to go into this with the knowledge that sometimes you're not going to get answers. Otherwise, you might be upset when months pass and the child letters make no reference to anything you've said.
    I am thankful that some of our kids (specifically in Ghana and Bolivia) will answer every single thing we ask!
    I am loving your blog!! :D
    Blogging from the Boonies

    1. Hi! Just wondering which countries your sponsor children that don't answer all the question are from. I'm new to sponsoring, and mine are from Rwanda, Romania and South Africa.

    2. Many villages have no concept of time like we do. Many don't wear watches or carry cell phones. They don't have a set schedule like many in our fast paced world do. They go to school when the sun comes up. They have lunch when the sun is straight up. No time constraints.

  2. Hi Emily!
    I found your blog off of the Rebelution forum and I'm loving it so far! God has definitely given you a talent for writing--keep it up! I must say, I have been inspired while reading your blog. I have been blogging off and on for several years, but am only recently trying to make it an actual habit. Reading your blog has inspired me to write more!

    God bless!


  3. Elliot, I found that the child that I am sponsoring does not respond to some questions and he is from Indonesia. I still love reading his letter though!

  4. Hi, I just wanted to thank you for writing this article. I just became a sponsor for the first time, a lovely little 8-year-old girl from Ethiopia, and I was really struggling to figure out how to break the ice. Who knew that such a simple letter could be so hard to write? :)