It never ceases to fail; when my kids come in from school I always ask “what did you learn today” or “how was your day” and I am always met with blank stares for about 20 seconds, followed by, “can I have a snack?”.
Obviously, I can’t help but be a bit curious about what went on with their day. Especially for my four years old who attends a Mandarin language immersion program. For one I want to make sure the extra 20-minute hike across town is worth it for her, and secondly, I would love for her to teach me a few things as well.
I’m curious as to whether or not she is making friends; did she eat her lunch? These are all questions that need answers. But alas, 90% of the time she refuses to answer the question.
Since I can’t be at school with her during the day, and I don’t want to be that parent to constantly email her teachers, I have to come up with creative ways in order to get answers out of her, my nine-year-old son and my teenage daughter. With the latter two being even more difficult to get an answer out of.
Don’t bombard them with questions as soon as they walk in the door.
*Raises hand* Okay, so I am super guilty of this. The same way I hated having questions thrown at me when I would come in from work, I can only imagine that my kids probably feel the same way. This can be extremely overwhelming for anyone. Give them a bit to decompress, and wait until they feel like talking before going for the gusto.
Ask them open-ended questions.
This is one of the most recommended tips. Be as specific as possible. Make it difficult for them to simply say yes or no.
Make it a relaxing conversation
If you come off overbearing or just too pushy, you could be doing more harm than good. What I have started doing is sitting on the couch with them and talking about my day first, and then following up specific questions about their day.
Know when to stop
Being the parent of a teenager, I have to recognize when enough is enough. If she doesn’t feel like talking to me, then besides that being an indication of a not so hot day, I know that if I continue it will only make matters worse.
30 Questions To Ask Your Kids About Their Day
1. What did you like best about your day today?
2. Who did you sit by at lunch?
3. What was the most interesting thing that you learned in school today?
4. Did you like your lunch?
5. Is there anything you would like help with?
6. What is/was your favorite thing to do during recess?
7. What’s the silliest thing that happened today?
8. Who did you play with at recess?
9. What happened during lunch today?
10. What are you grateful for today?
11. What is something you would have liked to do differently today?
12. What would you change about school?
13. Who is someone at school you’d like to be friends with?
14. What makes someone a good friend?
15. Did you do anything different today?
16. What did you notice today that most people probably didn’t notice?
18. Did anyone do anything silly to make you laugh?
19. What is one fun thing that happened to you today?
20. What did you do in school today that you really enjoyed?
21. What made you feel sad today?
22. Who did you play with today?
23. What book did you read at story time?
24. Did you learn something you’d never known before?
25. Did something surprise you today?
26. Teach me something I don’t know?
27. What are you looking forward to tomorrow?
28. What are you reading?
29. Did you make a new friend today? What’s their name? What do you like about them?
30. What are you looking forward to tomorrow?
Love of impromptu dance parties, 80’s cartoons, and horizontal life pauses (aka naps); Natasha Brown is a stay at home mom of 4 kids, and wife to one lucky guy! In her spare time, she is co-editor of Grits & Grace, as well as editor for The Mother Hustler Blog and Creative Director for the Mother Hustler podcast.