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What to ask your child other than, "How was your day?"
We all know the feeling right? We pick the kids up from school and eagerly begin asking how their day was anticipating these long detailed responses full of glee and excitement. More often than not, we get, "Fine", "OK", "Boring", "Can't remember". The truth is, our kids have just completed 4 - 7 days of school and guess what, the last thing they want to do is talk about it too! It doesn't mean they aren't happy or enjoying school - it just means they're a bit fed up with it. Start with allowing your child som "me time" so to speak. Time to decompress from all the activities of the day, ideas including picking a snack, a short burst of screen time or playing outside for a bit.
Getting children to talk about school (or other events they participate in away from you) requires being more specific with your questions. Here are some things to keep in mind when you're talking to your child about school:
- Try to ask open-ended questions to keep a conversation going. If you ask your child questions that can be answered with one word (yes, no, a name), then you'll probably get a one-word response. Often kids are not specific, so you have to ask for specific information when you want it.
- Starting with factual questions is a great way to ease into conversation. ("I know your class size is bigger this year than last year. What's that like?") - Avoiding emotion-packed words (happy, sad, mean) can help the conversation go on longer.
- Asking positive questions gives your child a chance to express concerns. Negative questions tend to stop a conversation.
Try to model the types of responses you are looking for. Talk about non-school topics first. Let them know what happened to you at your workplace or at home. When you model openness, children will usually follow suit. "You will never believe what happened to me on the way to work this morning (after you left for school this morning)," etc. Give social/verbal cues to your children and their friends as they talk openly with each other in the car or in your home to let them know you are listening and paying attention, especially when you cannot make direct eye contact (while driving, cooking, shopping). Listening will make you aware of situations they may be facing.
Try these 30 conversation starter questions with your kids this afternoon!
1. What did you eat for lunch?
2. Did you catch anyone picking their nose?
3. What games did you play during recess?
4. What was the funniest thing that happened today?
5. Did anyone do anything super nice for you?
6. What was the nicest thing you did for someone else?
7. Who made you smile today?
8. Which one of your teachers would survive a zombie apocalypse? Why?
9. What new fact did you learn today?
10. Who brought the best food in their lunch today? What was it?
11. What challenged you today?
12. If school were a ride at the fair, which ride would it be? Why?
13.What would you rate your day on a scale of 1 to 10? Why?
14. If one of your classmates could be the teacher for the day who would you want it to be? Why?
15. If you had the chance to be the teacher tomorrow, what would you teach the class?
16. Did anyone push your buttons today?
17. Who do you want to make friends with but haven't yet? Why not?
18. What is your teacher's most important rule?
19. What is the most popular thing to do at recess?
20. Does your teacher remind you of anyone else you know? How?
21. Tell me something you learned about a friend today.
22. If aliens came to school and beamed up 3 kids, who do you wish they would take? Why?
23. What is one thing you did today that was helpful?
24. When did you feel most proud of yourself today?
25. What rule was the hardest to follow today?
26. What is one thing you hope to learn before the school year is over?
27. Which person in your class is your exact opposite?
28. Which area of your school is the most fun?
29. Which playground skill do you plan to master this year?
30. Does anyone in your class have a hard time following the rules?