We’ve all done it at one time or another, asked our child the standard “How was your day?” and found ourselves the recipients of the ubiquitous but empty “good”. As parents, it’s our job to draw our kids out, asking better questions and getting to the heart of matters. It’s our job to talk about the good things and the difficult things too.
The best questions to get kids talking are specific (vague questions lead to vague answers) and open-ended (something that must be answered with more than one solitary word). In addition to the questions you ask, how and when you ask the questions matter. When I pick my kids up from school I make sure to have the radio off, be off any devices and show up fully present to re-connect with my kids after a day apart. By having the car silent I set the stage for conversation and minimize distractions. Some kids do better in conversations while looking you in the eyes, some kids tend to open up more if you aren’t looking at them but are sitting next to them or if they’re strapped in the back of the car while you drive, and other kids are more likely to engage while doing an activity like drawing, tossing a ball or going for a walk. The key is to know your child and the circumstances under which they are more likely to open up and to try to facilitate plenty of opportunities for conversations to happen.
10 Questions to ask kids about their day
- What was the best part of your day?
- What was the hardest part of your day?
- What’s something you did today that you’re proud of?
- What’s one thing you learned today?
- Who did you talk to today? What did you talk about?
- Did anything make you mad, sad or scared today? What did you do?
- Were there any situations at school that lead to trouble? What happened?
- Is there anything that happened today that you would have done differently?
- What’s one thing you’re grateful for about today?
- Who are you friends with at school? What do you like about them?