If I ask “how was your day” they will both inevitably say “good” and nothing else.
If you’re in the same boat, here are 30 questions to ask to get your kids talking and a few other tips. I like to mix them up and ask a couple of different ones after each school day. If I’m trying to focus on a specific attribute, like kindness, for example, I’ll ask the question “how were you kind today?” everyday so they expect it and start looking for opportunities to be kind throughout the day. Sometimes when I’m dropping them off I’ll tell them the questions I’m going to ask them when I pick them up.
When to ask questions about their day
Give your child a little bit of mental space once they get in the car or come off of the bus. They might be open to talk right away but they might need a second to unwind. We often start walking or driving home and I’ll wait a few minutes so I get a better response.
Ask open-ended questions.
You’re more likely to get better information out of them this way—think longer stories and more descriptive explanations.
Practice active listening
This is a great chance to model good active listening for your kids and help them feel really heard (bonus is they’ll be more likely to talk if they feel like you are engaged and care about their answers). Ask follow up questions and rephrase what they’re saying to show you understand (they’ll correct you if you’re wrong and you’ll learn more about the situation that way).
Active listening tips:
- Make eye contact
- Nod along as they talk (or say “yes” “I see” “Oh, really?”)
- Open body language (leaning toward them, arms uncrossed)
- Ask open-ended followup questions
- Rephrase what they said to show you understand (“It sounds like you had a really fun time playing with Garret until he jumped off the slide. Is that right?”)
A success story:
When Lincoln first started going to primary (a Sunday school class at church without Mom and Dad), he was very nervous. He’d cling to me and tell me he was scared. Once class got started he was always fine but it was the initial separation that bothered him (I think). I started telling him I was so excited to hear about what he learned in his primary class and asked him if he could try really hard to remember three things he learned about to tell me afterwards. It worked like a charm! He was easier to drop off and often the first things out of his mouth when I picked him up were an excited, “Mom! Guess what I learned!”
The questions we ask have the power to direct the way our children experience and reflect on their days. Here are some good ones to get them talking.
Questions to ask your kids after school besides “How was your day?”
When did you feel sad today? When did you feel happy today?
Did you ever feel scared today? What happened?
What made you feel proud?
What did you learn today?
What was the funniest part of your day?
What challenged you at school today? / What was the hardest thing you did today?
What was your favorite thing you did at school today?
What did you read about today?
What made you laugh today?
Who did you play with today?
Did you make a new friend today?
Who made you smile today?
How were you kind today?
Did you help anyone today?
When did someone help you today?
What is something you did that was helpful today?
When were you brave today?
What are you grateful for today?
Was someone mean today? What did you do? What could you do next time?
Did anyone cry today? What made them cry? What could you do next time?
What rules at school are different than at home?
If one of your classmates could be the teacher for the day who would you want it to be? Why?
If you had the chance to be the teacher tomorrow, what would you teach the class?
What is something you would have liked to do differently today?
What would you change about school?
What questions did you ask at school today?
What was the hardest rule to follow today?
What makes someone a good friend?
What do you think about that?
How did that make you feel?
What could you do next time?
Grab the printable:
Drop your email right here and I’ll send you the full list in a PDF. You can put it on your fridge to glance at when your kids come home or screen shot it and have it handy on your phone to check before the kids get in the car.