Conversation Starters – Fairness

Below are sample conversation starters on the topic of Fairness. Please take a moment to read through the questions prior to their use over the course of the month. Don’t forget to have fun with this type of “Table Talk.” This is a time for children to learn how to express themselves. Warning: you might not like all of their answers, or they might have difficulty at first expressing themselves about specific topics regarding values – please, for now, hold back on “correcting” them. Think of this as an exercise in sharing of ideas, an opportunity for you as parents to model for them. This is a terrific opportunity to see how our children think, feel, what they observe, and how we as the adults in their lives are teaching our children family values.

Suggestion: End one dinner a week with the last question.


Side note on fairness: Children want and need rules, structure and boundaries. It is these components which create a sense of fairness, predictability and safety in a child’s environment. By enforcing these rules and expectations consistently and abiding by these same expectations as the adult – we are on the road to raising kids of character who will treat others with fairness.


Have each person in the family take turns answering the various questions according to their ability.  

What does Fairness mean? (This could also be made into a poster to be hung in the home.) Take turns adding to the list.


Younger Children Fairness means:

  1. Playing by the rules

  2. Treating others the way you want to be treated

  3. Taking Turns

  4. Sharing

  5. Listening

  6. Telling the truth


Older Children Fairness means:

  1. Treating people fairly

  2. Everyone has the same chance

  3. Considering all of the facts in a situation before making a decision

  4. Use the same rules for everyone

  5. Don’t blame others for your mistakes

  6. Think about how your actions will affect others

  7. Listen closely to others and try to understand what they are feeling and saying

Many people – often children – will be quick to say “That’s not fair!”Sample ideas for defining Fairness:

  1. Talk about a time you felt something was unfair and why.

  2. Does fairness mean that I (or my sibling) can’t get a special privilege?

    1. How does Daddy show fairness at home? How does Mommy show fairness at home? (Fill in the various people in your household – step parents, grandparents, others) (Children learn from what we do not from what we say. Think about ways you model fairness in your daily life.)

    2. How do I show fairness? (I play fair at games, include other people at school, I don’t take more than my fair share (of food, attention, items, etc)).

    3. How does my family show fairness amongst the children?

    4. How does my teacher show fairness at school?

    5. How do my friends show fairness?

    6. How do I show fairness for kids at school that aren’t my good friends? Do I have to be fair with them?

    7. What would you feel (and then do) if you saw someone being treated unfairly?

    8. Is the world always fair?

    9. End with this fun and positive activity:

Share a compliment to each person at the table- begin with the sentence:

A special trait I like about my brother (sister, mother, father, etc) is……

Or my brother is special to me because he……

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