When I was a stay-at-home mom, I babysat a brother and sister for a few hours after school. They would get off the bus and walk up our long driveway, talking at the same time about their day. By the time their mom arrived several hours later, she would ask, “How was your day?” and they would reply, “Good.” Then they moved on to, “I’m hungry” or “Can we go shopping?” or some other comment or question. All the normal questions to ask your kids after school. No way were these kids being rude, but it was obvious they were finished talking about the school day and were ready to move on to something else.
Fast forward ten years later with my own kids. I would pick them up from school each day, ask how their day was, and would get the typical answer of “good” or “boring.” I would have to work really hard to get them to say much more.
I decided I needed to be a little more strategic in my questions so I could better enter into my child’s school life.
Read this article to figure out how to create a back to school homework corner.
Below is a list of 20 questions to ask your kids after school that will help us get beyond the “good” and “boring” answer to the question, “How was your day?”
I have learned one of the most important qualities that goes along with asking questions is waiting for the answer, and then building on the answer. Doing so requires me to slow down my own brain. Instead of thinking about what we are having for dinner or what’s next on the agenda, I have to listen to the answer. Then, it’s always nice to have an empathetic comment (“I can see how that could be hilarious!”) or even another question (“How did that make you feel?”).
Every now and again that extra effort will pay off. I remember a few of those conversation starters with my kids turned into longer, life-pondering moments that they reference today now that they’re adults.
Oh, one bonus question: Ask your child, “What would you like to know about my day today?” They enjoy being in control of the conversation for awhile!