"How was your day?"
"Did you do anything fun?"
"Ummmm... let me think... I don't remember."
Sound familiar? Talking to kids after school can often get you nowhere. Every question would get me silence. It was driving me crazy. Was school so bad that she didn't want to talk about it? No, that wasn't the case. Was she bored and just wasting her time there all day? No, that wasn't it either. You know what the problem was? I was asking the wrong questions.
Here are some tips to to get your child to talk about their school day.
How could I get her to talk? I asked everyone. I posted the question on-line. I looked for blog posts that had suggestions. Everyone had different opinions, but there was one key thing they all mentioned and it was the one thing I was doing wrong.
Ask about the details. My questions were too vague. Of course my 6-year-old wasn't going to give me the answers I was looking for if I didn't help her out a little bit. I know a bit about her day. I know when she has art and when she has music. I know the subjects that are covered each and every day. I know that her teacher reads chapter books to the class and that each student keeps a science journal and a reading journal. I'm sure you know basic ideas about your child's day too.
The key is asking detailed questions to get them talking about their day.
So what can you ask? Here are 20 questions to ask your kids about their school day.
- Who did you sit by at lunch?
- Who did you play with at recess?
- What did you do in P.E. (art, music, etc.) today?
- Did anything surprise you today?
- Tell me something nice that you did for someone today. Did someone do something nice for you today?
- What book did your teacher read to you today? What do you like about that book?
- What book did YOU read (or listen to) today?
- Did anything make you sad today? Why did that make you sad?
- What made you laugh today?
- Tell me one new thing you learned today.
- What was the most fun part of your day?
- What made you bored today? Is there anything that could make that more interesting?
- Who do you wish you could sit by in class? Why?
- Did something out-of-the-ordinary happen at school today? What was it?
- What was the hardest thing you did today?
- Did something (or someone) make you angry today? What did you do (or say)?
- Was there something that you didn't understand? Can I help you understand it more?
- Did you do something that you are proud of today? What was it?
- Is there anything coming up that you are excited about?
- What was your favorite thing to learn about today?
If you know something special is going on at school, make sure and ask questions about it. Recently my daughter participated in Jump Rope for the Heart during school. She loved that I asked about it and very eagerly answered all my questions. We were able to make that connection.
Connecting with your child after school does take some effort. I've learned that if I make the effort, my daughter will meet me half way. I couldn't expect her to automatically tell me everything I needed to know. I learned that detailed questions get better answers. And now, we are making that connection and I love every minute of it.
Do you have any more questions to add to the list? What works for you when making that after school connection?
Looking for more good reads about kids and school? Try one of these posts:
Keeping the Lines of Communication Open With Your Child's Teacher
Dear Teacher: There Are a Few Things I Need You to Know
Surviving Your Child's Math Homework
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