Wondering what questions to ask your child about their day at school? Like most of us, if you only ever seem to get one-word answers from your child, you might just need to change your approach or questions! Here’s some suggestions from our own North Shore Mum’s for questions (and jokes!) that have worked for them.
Questions to ask your kids about their day at school
Specific questions to open communication
- What did you do after eating your lunch?
- Did anything funny happen today?
- What’s one new fact that you learnt today?
- What were 3 things you enjoyed today at school?
- What was the best/worst thing about today?
- What was your highlight? What was your lowlight?
- What questions did you have today that didn’t get answered?
- What was your favourite thing today?
- Did anyone or anything make you sad?
- Did anyone get into trouble today?
Friendships and big feelings
- Who did you sit next to at lunch? What was the yummiest thing in their lunch box?
- Who do you hang with today?
- If you had a magic eraser to erase one thing from the day what would you erase?
- What was your favourite act of kindness you witnessed today?
- What was the most challenging part of your day today?
- What made you smile today?
- What was the best part of your day?
- What are you looking forward to doing tomorrow?
- What was something kind you did?
- What was something you learned?
- How were you kind today?
From the experts: Ten conversation-starter questions from Scholastic:
- Tell me about the best part of your day.
- What was the hardest thing you had to do today?
- Did any of your classmates do anything funny?
- Tell me about what you read in class.
- Who did you play with today? What did you play?
- Do you think math [or any subject] is too easy or too hard?
- What’s the biggest difference between this year and last year?
- What rules are different at school than our rules at home? Do you think they’re fair?
- Who did you sit with at lunch?
- Can you show me something you learned (or did) today?
Questions to ask your kids about their day at school: Tips and tricks
Try talking during dinner (or after):
‘I used to find it was more about the timing. I always picked my son up and he’d tell me nothing. His dad would ring from work and ask him how his day had been, and an entire conversation would follow (which irritated me given I was the one leaving work early every day to pick him up!). Then I realised it was just the timing, he wasn’t ready to talk straight after school but with his belly full again and a bit of a play he was happy to chat.’ – Ingrid
‘Make homemade dice with a few conversation starters e.g. ‘Who did you play with today?’ ‘Tell me about music class?’ and ask your child to roll it then answer the question. Something fun to do at dinner.’ – Suzie
‘Maggie Dent (child psychologist) says don’t ask straight after school! Kids are exhausted. Wait an hour or two until dinner then you’ll get better responses. Makes sense!’ – Magdalena
Instead of a quiz, have a conversation:
‘I started to tell them how my day was and what I got up to. My daughter took a lot of interest and then started to open up and tell me what she got up to at school.’ – Kat
‘Start by telling them a little about your day, highlights and lowlights. Then ask them to do the same.’ – Sandy
‘Ask nothing! Share all the good, funny and exciting things you did through the day, and then they start doing the same. Otherwise, they feel it’s like a chore or an inquisition. Try it … it works!’ – Jarita
‘Always find it’s best to wait till they talk!’ – Vanessa
‘I tell mine each day that I really love listening about them and their day when they leave or I leave in the morning – I say that each day and then when we are back together, we take turns to talk about what happened at school.’ – Payal
Have fun with your questions!
‘Ask, who was naughty in your class today! They love to dob and it leads into all sorts of chat about what was going on during the day.’ – Victoria
‘I’ve started asking, “Rate your day?” “Give me a number between 1-10” then go from there. Mine try and beat each other on why. Just keep trying.’ – Lisa
‘If you could send one person from school to the moon in a rocket ship who would it be?’ – Alicia
‘Did anyone get in trouble at school today?!? Lol always drags out funny stuff.’ – Nazanin
Make a game of it
- Two truths and a lie! It’s the only way I can get anything out of my son. He flatly refuses to talk about school otherwise, even though he loves it. Ruth
- Play High/Low. One rule – you can’t say ‘best’ is recess or lunch, or worst is ‘class’ without a reason. You play too!
- What was the highlight of your day (or best/favourite part depending on age-appropriate language)
- What was the lowest/least fun or enjoyable part?
- Gratitude and kindness are very important but for fun (and definitely choose the right age group) which teacher would survive a zombie apocalypse and why? I’ve asked my child this and we have a good laugh. Gina
Some last words of wisdom:
‘I don’t press for more than what they tell me but whatever they say I keep asking open-ended questions – what did you feel about the event or class or friend or happening? They are interested in how my day went – I share my ups and downs, my learnings and regrets. So, they get to know a lot about my life, and I too get to know more about their day. I think there are so many ways, but each person is different – I feel as long as they know you are keen and interested, they will talk to you when they want. So don’t worry too much okay – I heard once, just tell your kids repeatedly that I am there always to hear you and that I always see you. I loved it and I think and hope it works always.’ – Katie