5 tips to get your child to talk about their school day


That's the basic response we all get from our children at 3:30 in their post-math-pre-snack bleary-eyed haze when we ask "How was school today?" So it was no surprise that it happened to me right out of the gate this year on the first day of second grade. My son loooooves to chat, so I knew his quipped replies must have been partially my error. My question was wrong. I experimented with a few new questions, and was blown away by some of his responses. I was suddenly learning playground hierarchy, lunchroom luckies (my son doesn't get enough dessert, apparently), and hidden details I've never gleaned in years past. Here are some tips on how to draw more from your student at the end of the school day.

1. Ask "feeling" questions. This elicits all kinds of interesting information. Start out by asking them to tell you one thing that happened today that made them feel:
• helpful
• scared
• special
• surprised
• sad
• confused
• happy

2. Ask them what they traded at lunch. (Because trust me, they did.) Then ask what the other kids have in their lunch boxes. It's not so much about what's in their lunches. But the details that followed about how the lunchroom dynamic works were enlightening. I also learned new things to pack in my son's lunch that I hadn't thought of.

3. Ask one thing that made them excited to learn that day (break it down by subject if you have a particularly stubborn kiddo). I learned that my son started art class today and drew the most amazing prehistoric creature. This was something he didn't offer up on his own. He then went on to tell me that his art teacher is a boy, but his P.E. teacher is a girl, which made him laugh. And that opened up the conversation to the art/library/music/computers classes, and when they will be happening in the week.

4. Ask them what made them laugh at school. This one was a big hit. I heard all kinds of tidbits about other students and his teachers clever quirks. And it lets your child know that you can't always take school too seriously!

5. Ask where they saw the principal that day. It makes them stop and think about specific moments in the day. You might find out that something went down on the playground. Or your child might have visited the office for a bandaid. Or maybe they received a small award! In our case, the principal actually walked my son's class out to the carpool pick-up, and my husband had met him thinking it was the teacher. My son was proud to introduce them and make the connection (an incident that seemed too trivial for my son and husband to share).

Add all of these moments up, and you'll have a pretty good depiction of the day! Do you have tricks to get your kids to talk to you about their day? Tell me in the comments below.

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