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27 Questions To Ask In Lieu of “How Was School Today?”

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iStock_000036803782_smallEver ask your son or daughter “How was school today?” and they reply “fine,” or “good?” I know my kids do! Here are some other questions to ask to help you get conversation going.

  1. What made you laugh today?
  2. What did you do during gym/math/recess/lunch?
  3. Did your friends say anything funny today?
  4. Did you learn anything useful today?
  5. Who did you see in the hall today that you don’t usually see?
  6. Did anyone wear funny socks to school?
  7. Which of your teachers should be on the show What Not To Wear?
  8. If you had to hang out with one of your teachers, which would it be? What would you do?
  9. How would school be different if I shadowed you all day?
  10. What happened at school today that you wish you could change?
  11. What is a good thing that happened at school today?
  12. Did anyone wear a funny t-shirt?
  13. Who did you sit with on the bus/at lunch? What did you talk about?
  14. If you could be the most popular, most athletic or the smartest kid in your class which would you choose and why?
  15. How is this year different than last year?
  16. Are there any rules at school that you think are unfair?
  17. If you were on a game show and the questions were about the things you learned today, what questions would they ask?
  18. Did you learn something today that would be something I don’t know?
  19. Was there anything at school today that was distracting?
  20. What do you think your teachers were like as kids?
  21. Who is your nicest friend? Why?
  22. If you could relive today what would you do different?
  23. If you had to choose a song to describe your day what would it be? (Movie, book , etc.)
  24. If you were the teacher what would you have done differently today?
  25. Give me ten words to describe your day.
  26. Did you doodle anything cool on your notebook today?
  27. What would be a good question for me to ask so that I don’t ask the question “how was your day?”

Some important things to remember:

  1. Listen to your kids, notice themes, people, and problems; ask follow-up questions in the future.
  2. Do not interrupt!
  3. Do not over-react or make snap judgments about their friends or teachers when listening to your child tell you about their day; it will make your child think twice about talking to you again.
  4. I tell my kids right up front that I am going to keep asking them questions until I get the amount of information I am looking for. (I do this in a joking manner even though they know I am not joking)
  5. Pay attention to what your son or daughter is excited to share about and ask questions relating to that subject in the weeks to come.
  6. Use reflective listening. For example: So when your teacher called on you, you felt embarrassed. Wow, I would have been embarrassed too.
  7. If they have had a really bad day and don’t want to talk about it initially, respect their wishes. Give them some time to process and calm down and approach them later.
  8. You are both learning a new pattern of behavior; be patient. Start small and work to increase the conversations a little more each week. Your child is not going to go from one minute of conversation to fifteen in a day.
  9. Model good communication by sharing part of your day.
  10. You know your child the best, get creative and think about what interests them and tailor questions that would best fit your child.
  11. Don’t try and have a conversation right before they are going to do something, they will try and rush through it. Choose a time that is convenient for both of you. Dinner is a great time.
  12. Set aside a special time to talk. (I take each of my children out to breakfast once a week)