Do you find yourself asking your children day after day, “How was your day at school?” only to be disappointed by a short and simple answer like “fine”, a grunt or a shrug? Well, getting kids to talk about their day at school may be challenging and seem like it requires CIA-approved interrogation techniques. But you most likely just have to change a bit your usual questions. So, what can you ask when the kids don’t want to chat?
Ask: What was your favorite/best part of the day?
And: Tell me about something that made you giggle today.
Or: What was the funniest thing that happened at school today?
If you are not specific, your children may just say “my day was OK” and bring the conversation to a halt. Don’t ask questions that kids can answer with a word or two. Using questions that begin with the “wh words” (aka what, who, when, where, why) isn’t just a fantastic journalism tool, but an effective way to get a better answer than a simple “OK”, “good” or “nice”.
Ask: How did you do on that test you had today? I always used to be nervous when I took exams at school!
Or: How did you feel during your test today? Did you do well?
Asking about a specific project, exam or test lets your kids know that you pay attention to their struggles at school. And don’t forget to ask about their feelings; children tend to forget that the adults in their lives were once kids too and they can totally understand them.
Ask: Who is the funniest/nicest person in your class? Why do you think that?
And: Who did you play/eat with today?
Or: Did anyone get in trouble today?
By asking questions about classmates and friends, you can easily understand how your children interact with others.
Ask: What is one new thing that you learned today?
Or: Tell me one super cool thing you learned/did today.
And: What is one thing you know today that you didn’t know yesterday?
Chances are, your children will choose to share something new that really excited them.
Ask: Were you bored today? When?
Or: What was the most boring thing that happened today?
The answer can help you understand if there’s a subject or activity that doesn’t catch your child’s interest.
Ask: If you had the chance to be the teacher tomorrow, what would you do?
Or: Does your teacher remind you of anyone we know? Who and why?
And: Did your teacher say anything today that made you laugh?
Depending on your child’s imagination and age, these questions can lead to hilarious answers! In addition, talking about your children’s teachers is a great opportunity to discuss the realities of classroom rules.
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