Child & Family Development Child & Family Development

October 8, 2019

How was your day?

Parent:  “How was your day at school?”

Child: “Fine.”

Parent: “What did you do?”

Child: “Nothing.”

If this conversation is something you can relate to as a parent or caregiver, you’re not alone.  Getting kids to share specific details about their day at school can be difficult.  Here are some tips for getting children more engaged in conversations about their experience at school.

  1. Use work samples, art projects or other objects that come home from school to strike up a conversation.  Asking a child to describe a sketch from art class, or to show you what they are most proud of on a completed worksheet, can provide a good starting point for conversation.
  2. Keep your questions open ended.  Instead of asking, “How was your day?” ask “Who did you sit with at lunch?” or “What game did you play at recess?”
  3. Become familiar with the child’s classroom routine and schedule. For example, on a day that they have Library or Media class, ask “What books did you get from the library today?”  Classroom routines can be great conversation starters too.  Questions like, “What did your teacher talk about during morning meeting today?” or “What was the journal prompt this week?” can help your child begin to share more details about their day.
  4. Model these discussions by sharing about your day with other members of the family.
  5. Timing is everything.  If you find that your child is reluctant to share directly after school, consider striking up the conversation during dinner or on the car ride to practice or after school activity.  Suggest sharing about your day using the “high & low” activity.  For example, at the dinner table each person shares what the high point of their day was and what the low point of their day was.  This will help promote more discussion about not only the goods things, but some stressful things that may have happened during the school day.