When Amy started kindergarten a couple of years ago and I asked her about her day, I regularly got answers like ‘Good’, ‘Nice’ or ‘As always’. That was until I realised that I was simply asking the wrong questions. Working as a freelance journalist has taught me that you should always use ‘open-ended-questions’, e.g. questions that make your interviewee talk freely and with emotion instead of ‘closed-ended’questions’ that encourage one-worded answers. And as soon as I used this approach when asking Amy about her day at kindergarten and now at school, the conversation started flowing.
If your child is a little tight-mouthed when you want them to talk about their day at school or nursery, the following 20 questions might help you to start a conversation about their school day.
Get your child to talk about their day
1. What’s the best/worst/ thing that has happened at school today?
2. What made you laugh today?
3. What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned/done today?
4. How would you rate your day from 1 to 10?
5. Who did you play with today?
6. Which child that you aren’t friends with yet would you like to become friends with? Why?
7. What’s a nice thing you did for someone else today?
8. Who is the funniest child in your class?
9. What’s the most difficult thing you’ve learned to today?
10. What’s the funniest thing Ms/Mr …. did in class today?
11. What have you learned about one of your classmates today?
12. What made you happy/sad/angry today?
13. What are you most proud of today?
14. What would you like to learn more of at school?
15. What did you have for lunch today?
16. If you could be the teacher for the day, what would you do?
17. What’s your favourite thing to do at break time?
18. What do you like best about your classroom?
19. Which book would you like to read with your school friends and why do you think they’d enjoy it?
20. If teacher/student XYZ was a character from a fairy tale or Disney movie, who would they be?
Get your child to talk about their day – more tips
Something else that’s really helpful before starting a conversation about your child’s school day is giving them half an hour to decompress when they come home. Amy is much more likely to talk about her school day once she’s had a drink and snack, which I think is something I can totally relate to. We all need a little breather after a busy day at work.
Also, give your child your undivided attention when talking about school. Don’t ask them about their school day because you feel like you have to but because you’re genuinely interested in hearing about their day. Your kids deserve your full attention and just ask yourself, who you would rather talk to – someone who’s showing an active interest in what you’re saying or someone who’s distracted and giving you ‘aha’ and ‘okays’ as an answer?
There are also a couple of great ways to ‘stretch out’ your conversation. Little remarks like ‘Oh that’s interesting/funny, tell me more about it’ or ‘Wow, really?’ can help you carry on a conversation that’s showing signs of slowing down and repeating bits of your child’s answers can do the same thing and motivate them to add other tidbits of information. Give it a try!
How to get your child to talk about their day? Do you have a set of questions or are you happy to hear their day was ‘okay’? I’d love to hear your thoughts…