“How was your day?” It’s the four-word-phrase that strikes fear and apathy into the heart of every child. Whenever you utter that nasty phrase, your kids go into lock down mode.
Parent: How was your day?
(Does this ever happen at your house?)
There are probably endless stacks of research reports on why this happens (not really…), but simply stated, kids may feel overwhelmed when they get out of school. A lot happens in one school day, and it may be hard for them to sift through the day’s activities to choose something to talk about. At the very least they may need a little space, a snack, and some alone time before they’re ready to divulge details about the day.
When you feel like you’re child is ready to talk, here are some specific questions you can ask that may be less exasperating than “How Was Your Day?”
1. What was your favorite class today?
Children often have an easier time answering specific question like this one rather than broad questions like: How was your day? This is a great question, not only because it’s specific, but also because after your child answers it a few times, you’ll begin to notice patterns of what school subjects or activities he likes.
2. What is the nicest thing you did for someone else today or that someone did for you?
I love this question because it highlights the importance of treating others kindly and noticing kindness from others. Your child’s school day is mostly about academic learning, but it’s also about learning how to work well with others and make friends.
3. What game did you play during gym today?
Most kids love gym class, especially in elementary school. Get them to explain the rules of a game they liked. You’ll get them talking in no time.
4. Who did you sit with at lunch?
This question is a good way to figure out who your kid’s friends are. It may elicit a funny story from the cafeteria, too.
5. How did your science lab go?
Of course, you don’t have to ask just about science, but asking about a specific project or test that you know happened that day will let your kids know that you’re interested in what they’re doing at school.
6. Share 3 facts about your day.
This works well with my middle school children. Sometimes, I’ll tease them on the way home that they can’t turn the radio on until they share their 3 facts. Often, each fact turns into a more elaborate story about their school day, which this mama is thankful for.