Nothing silences a child more than asking them how their day was. If they don’t recoil in disgust, they’ll likely offer an apathetic shoulder shrug or ignore you altogether.
Chances are they did have a day — a full one, packed with new information learned, friendly conversations and lunch items that ended up in the trash bin. But getting kids to communicate about their day is a feat that takes planning and skill.
The problem is not that kids hate you or hate talking, or they had a day that was downright miserable. The problem is that asking a question in such a general way requires them to sort through too many memories, from the lunch lady in the cafeteria to the lessons on nouns and fractions. Like you, they’re tired and they need a little more direction to get them going.
How to get answers
These 10 questions are fun, specific and can help crack the code to your child’s mind.
1. Who made you smile today?
Knowing the classmates that make a positive impact on your child is helpful in understanding their friend group and making connections with their parents.
2. Who brought the best food in their lunch today?
In addition to learning who your child sits with at lunch, this question also gives you insight into new foods they’ll consider in their lunchbox.
3. What new fact did you learn today?
Zoning in on subjects that interest your child is helpful in supporting their learning at home. For example, a child who’s intrigued by gravity would benefit from a trip to the planetarium.
4. Did anyone push your buttons today?
Knowing who your child has conflict with, and why, gives you an opportunity to teach coping skills — and better equip them to face future conflicts.
5. What rule was the hardest to follow today?
Being aware of structures set out in the classroom offers you insight into how the class is run. It also helps you give your child tools to adapt in a way that helps them grow.
6. If you were the teacher, what would you teach your class?
Asking your child to step into the shoes of their teacher can help kids connect better with them, while also giving you a stronger understanding of your child’s in-class interests.
7. What does your class love about you?
Kids feel the same uncertainties that adults do, so asking them to recall moments when their peers appreciated them can improve their self-esteem and encourage them to appreciate others.
8. Who were you kind to today?
Learning your child’s definition of kindness — and how they demonstrate it — allows you to offer them similar opportunities to strengthen their moral compass and help them feel good.
9. What was the best activity you did today?
Kids learn in different ways and activities help them learn. So if your preschooler says she loves Legos, building them at home is a way to teach creativity, engineering and problem-solving.
10. What do you hope you get to do at school tomorrow?
This question helps kids feel excited about a new day, while promoting positivity about school, classmates and anything new they get to learn or explore.