Try these questions to spark more engaging conversation with your school-age children
The start of a school year is a new and exciting time for a child, with lots of peer interaction, teacher engagement, and learning. However, we all know the feeling: you sit down with your child after school, snacks prepared, and ask, ‘how was your day?’. ‘Good’, they reply. End of conversation. Sometimes our kids don’t care to tell us the details of their school day, and sometimes they’re not sure how to communicate or what we find interesting. That’s where these 3 after school conversation starters come in, to build a closer bond with your child and learn more about what is going on in their school life!
Instead of ‘how was your day’, try ‘what was your favorite part of today?’
While the first question is almost certain to get a one-word response, asking about their favorite part always brings a smile to a child’s face. It gives them an opportunity to reflect on everything that happened that day, and share with you the one thing they found most exciting. It allows you to learn more about what is going well for them (maybe they really love recess and have a lot of friends) but also what they may be struggling with (as fun as recess is, science classes are never the favorite part).
Instead of ‘did you make any new friends’, try ‘who in your class do you most admire? What do you like about them?’
Most outgoing kids quickly make friends, and when you ask the first question simply reply that everyone is their friend! For our introverts who make friends more slowly, asking if they’ve made any friends that day can be embarrassing or downright discouraging. However, when you ask about people and qualities they admire, you set your child up for an upbeat reflection on what they like about a person. It’s especially fun to watch how your child answers as they get older, where they turn from ‘I like Sasha because she has cool hair!’ to ‘I admire Jennifer’s confidence and kindness’!
Instead of ‘what did you learn’, try ‘how could you use this in the future?’
After a long day at school, the last thing our kids want to do is recount specific formulas or go through spelling questions. To get a better idea of what kinds of things they learn about during the school day, implore them to dive deeper with how that information can be used. For example, your child may not get excited to report her newfound knowledge about math tables, but she may see how those skills will be useful for budgeting and knowing if you can afford something at the store. Not only does it help you connect with your child but it also shows him or her how their lessons are important in the real world!
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