Don’t we all want to know all about our children’s day at school – like if they made new friends, or if the math teacher was talking too fast? Yet, when you pose the question “So, how was school today?” to your child, chances are the answer you get would go along the lines of “Great!” or “It was alright, I guess”.
Feeling exasperated with your child’s response? Well, it looks like they feel just as stressed with being asked that question as well.
According to Michael Thompson, Ph.D., author of The Pressured Child, ‘How was school today?’ is a frustrating question for both parents and kids. “Parents never get the answer they want and often don’t understand how difficult this question really is. Without meaning to, parents are asking for a summary but kids don’t summarise the way adults do. So most kids just say ‘fine’ or try to avoid the question entirely,” he shares. To add on to this, Dr. Lawrence Cohen, author of “Playful Parenting” says that many parents repeat this question if they fail to get a “good enough response” because they are not sure how else to ask it.
Thankfully, with some tweaks to the way you ask the question, both you and your child might have a nicer conversation about their day at school. Here’s a list of 25 questions to help you get started:
- What was the best thing that happened at school today?
- What was the worst thing that happened at school today?
- Tell me one thing that made you laugh today.
- Given a choice, who would you sit next to in class? Why?
- Who would you NOT want to sit next to – and why?
- What is your favourite place to be in school?
- Tell me a strange word you heard today. (Or something strange which someone said to you)
- If I talked to your teacher right now, what would she tell me about you?
- What did you do today to make someone’s day better?
- How did someone help to make your day better?
- Tell me one thing you learnt today.
- What made you the happiest today?
- What bored you to tears today?
- Who would you like to play with at recess that you have never played with before?
- Tell me something good that happened today.
- What word did your teacher use the most today?
- What do you think you should do/learn more in school?
- What do you think you should do/learn less of in school?
- Who among your classmates do you think could be nicer to you? What do you do when he/she is not being nice to you?
- Where do you hang out the most during recess?
- What do you like the most about recess?
- Who is the funniest person in your class? Why is that so?
- If you could be the teacher tomorrow, what would you do?
- If you could change places in class, who would you trade with? Why?
- Tell me 3 things you used your pencil for today.
These open-ended questions serve as a non-threatening way to find out how your child really feels about school and his/her interactions with friends and teachers. On the other hand, they also open the door for a discussion by asking “why” questions (Tip: Be prepared to be surprised with the answers they give you), and this helps you get to the root of issues you may not know your child was going through.
Read also: 8 Ways to Encourage Curiosity in Children
This article was first published on the MindChamps WordPress Blog.