When we ask our children “How was school today”, their typical answer is “Ok”, or “fine” or “good”. If you would like to have a bit more information from them, instead of asking “How was school today”, you need to try and ask your child more specific questions that will make them want to share a lot more with you. Once they start speaking, make sure you listen to them without judgement and if they are sharing something that bothered them, try not to immediately reassure them or give them solutions. Instead use the “Active Listening” technique: repeat what they have told you, try and summarise it or just try and put a name on their feeling. This will make them want to share even more.
Examples of alternatives to “How was school today”
The last suggestions would work better for older children
– What was your best moment at school today? (or what was your worst moment at school today?)
– Tell me something that made you laugh today.
– Who did you help today? Who helped you today?
– When were you the happiest today?
– Tell me about three different times you used your pencil today at school.
– Tell me one thing that you learned today.
– What was the coolest (saddest, funniest, scariest) thing that you saw today?
– What do you think you should do/learn more of at school? (or What do you think you should do/learn less of at school?)
– What part of the day do you look forward to? What part of the day do you dread?
– If you got to be the teacher tomorrow what would you do differently?
These are just a few examples of our Best of Parenting Tools. You can find more ideas and solutions to typical parenting challenges in our book ‘Kids Don’t Come With a Manual – The Essential Guide to a Happy Family Life‘.