It's late in the day, and you finally have a quiet moment with your child. You want to connect and hear all about your baby's life, so you ask the easiest question: “how was school today?” I bet you know you’re going to get the same old one-word answer like “fine” or even “good.” It’s frustrating.
If you're serious about getting your child to open up (and we know that you are!), then it's time to leave "how was school" by the wayside and try asking these five specific, open-ended questions instead.
What was your favorite part of today?
It's specific, open-ended, and positive.
By focusing on the best part of their day, your child just may open up and unload all about their excitement to you. It gives them a chance to get their thoughts rolling in a positive way and while they could just stop with a quick sentence, one thing could lead to another and it may even turn into a full conversation about school.
Which friends did you get to spend time with today?
Kids love it when the things that matter to them are the things that matter to you.
Some children are less than enthusiastic about the actual school work and may be more willing to open up about their day if you ask about their friends. In addition, this can give you some insight into who your child’s friends are and who they tend to spend the most time with, something that all parents should pay attention to.
Teach me something you learned today!
Learning is fun, but teaching others is great for memorization and confidence.
You can ask this question in a few different ways, but the idea is to pique your child's excitement. Most kids assume parents already know everything. By inviting your child to teach you something, you'll show respect for their growing knowledge and get them excited to open your mind up to something they just learned.
What made you feel happy/sad today?
Your child will find it easier to tell you about what is happening in their life if you can help them name the feelings around those events.
As parents, we are often preoccupied with how our children feel. Especially true when our kids are away from us all day and we’re unable to observe how their day is going. Obviously we want our children to be happy all the time, but by asking what made them happy or sad we can open up the conversation for them to express how they felt during their school day.
What were you proud of today?
Children want and deserve to be proud of themselves. And you deserve to be the encouraging force in their life who reminds them of all the things they should be proud of.
Bringing your child’s attention to something they feel good about is such a positive way to end their school day and start their interactions with you. You can let them spill all about how proud they are of something they did that day, school-related or not, and let them know how proud you are of them as well.
Connecting with our kids after school is hard. Often times they’re exhausted from a day of learning and don’t exactly want to be interrogated. But by changing up the questions you’re asking and being a little more specific, you can increase your chances of starting a conversation with your child after school.
We are committed to helping children express themselves completely.
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