Asking how the school day was… and getting answers

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My middle son in preschool

This post about asking how the school day was... and getting answers has been spread all over and for good reason. Parents, so often, do not know how to interact with their own children - on many levels, not just schooling. I learned this same lesson early on as a young mother when my oldest entered preschool. Ask a question that a kid can answer with one word, yes or no? That’s what you'll get - "yes" or "no".  Ask a question as mundane as "How was your day at school?" and you will get just that, a mundane answer. It is equivalent to asking someone in passing, "How are you today? Of course, you never expect anything more than, "Fine thanks." So I started asking my children questions that at least needed a specific answer.  What was for a snack? What did you do on the playground? What book was read to you today? What did you paint? And I would get my foot in the door to some kind of authentic conversation. When I saw this post by Liz Evans, from her blog Simple Simon and Company, I wanted to share because I knew her questions were right on target. Now, she has a second list of 28 ways to ask your teenagers about their school day. Here are the beginnings of both:

My oldest son entering 2nd grade

My oldest son entering 2nd grade

25 Ways To Ask Your Kids “So how was school today?” Without Asking them “So how was school today?” by Liz Evans

This year Simon is in 4th grade and Grace is in 1st grade and I find myself asking them every day after school, “So how was school today?”. And every day I get an answer like “fine” or “good” which doesn’t tell me a whole lot. AND I WANT TO KNOW A WHOLE LOT!!!! Or at get at least a full sentence.  So the other night I sat down and made a list of more engaging questions to ask about school.  They aren’t perfect…but I do get at least complete sentences…and some have lead to interesting conversations…and hilarious answers…and a few insights into how my kids think and feel about their time at school. #1.  What was the best thing that happened at school today?  (What was the worst thing that happened at school today?) #2.  Tell me something that made you laugh today. #3.  If you could choose who would you like to sit by in class?  (Who would you NOT want to sit by in class?  Why?) #4.  Where is the coolest place at the school? #5.  Tell me a weird word that you heard today.  (Or something weird that someone said.)

28 Ways to Ask Your Teens “How Was School Today?” WITHOUT asking them “How Was School Today?” by Liz Evans

#1.  Where in the school do you hang out the most?  (Like a particular hall, classroom, parking lot, etc.)  Where in the school do you never hang out? #2.  What would your school be better with?  What would your school be better without? #3.  If you were a teacher what class would you teach?  What class would be the worst to teach?  Why? #4.  What was the coolest (saddest, funniest, scariest) thing that you saw today? #5.  Tell me one thing that you learned today. images-1
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