I would imagine that most of you reading this have asked your child the following question: “How was school today?” It’s possible that as the words left your mouth you remembered a day when you were a student and you swore to yourself that you would never ask your own child that question when you were a parent. And there you were, asking it. However, you now have a better understanding of why your parents asked you this long ago. You realize that it is important for you to know how your child’s day was and what they did while they were at school and out of your care for nearly 7 hours. Furthermore, you are just plain interested. You love your child and want to have a conversation about his or her day. So you asked the question. The tired, age-old, cliché question. And no doubt you received a variation of the answer, “It was good,” and nothing more.
These conversations with your child each day are important, and I promise that they remember more form their day than they may be letting on. I see all of the students engaged in learning and playing all day. The hours they spent here that day come with stories. It’s just tricky to get to turn them into storytellers after school. Therefore, I wanted to pass along some tips on how to spark this conversation. Sometimes a simple alteration of the question can lead to some fruitful conversations.
The following tips are from a website titled, “How To Say It: Questions To Ask Your Child About School”
This website also contains a chart that helps you rephrase certain questions to get better answers.
Click here for the website.
Tips from the website.
- 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.
- Positive questions (“Which is your favorite class?”) help encourage more conversation.
- Avoid using emotional words like sad or mean, which can cause your child to stop talking.
- Try asking questions that have numbers, like “Who are the three kids you like best in your new class?”
The following suggestions are from the teachers at SMM.
Try replacing the question, “”How was school today?” with the following:
What is one thing you did in (choose a subject)?
What was your favorite thing about school today?
What made your brain more wrinkly today? (They are told that new knowledge creates new brain wrinkles… J)
Was anyone especially kind at school today?
What word did your teacher say most today?
Who in your class do you think you could be nicer to?
Who did you play with at recess?
Who did you sit by at lunch?
What stories did your teacher read?
What did you write about?
What was the happiest part of your day?
What surprised you?
What songs did you sing?
What stuck with you today?”
Tell me about something that made you laugh today.
What did you do in Music today? (Also, know your child’s schedule.)
Did you enjoy your BBQ chips I put in your lunch?
What was the best part of your day?
What made you smile today?
What is a good thing and a bad thing that happened today?
Give me one example of how you helped someone today.”
Tell me three things that made you happy today.”
Tell me one way you made someone else happy today.”
Tell me one thing that made your day more interesting today.”
Tell me one thing you learned today, or practiced.
What new words or definitions did you learn in Science class today? What new fact did you learn in Science class today? What math concept did you practice today? What math words did you talk about today? What countries did you talk about today?
If you got to be teacher tomorrow, what would you do?