When your child gets in the car after school, do you immediately ask, ‘How was your day?‘ Nine times out of ten, the answer is ‘good‘ or ‘fine.’ Most kids don’t elaborate.
Maybe it’s because their brain is on overload after a full day of school. Maybe it’s because they aren’t able to verbalize what they’re thinking. As parents, we need to ask the questions that allow kids to explain their day at school. It gives us a peek into their world in the 6-8 hours they are away from home.
As a former 1st grade teacher, I can tell you it’s important for you to be able to talk to your child about school. And the more they talk to you, the more of a base your building for when they’re older. As kids get older, the topics get more serious.
You want to lay the foundation with many hours of them feeling comfortable telling you all about their day at school.
I put together a list of nine questions you can ask your children on your way home from school or at the dinner table. And don’t forget to ask follow up questions! This gets the ball rolling and one simple question might lead to a more in-depth answer.
#1 What was one ‘high’ and one ‘low’ from today?
I love this because everyone is able to shine a light on their high point (maybe getting an A or playing a favorite game at recess.) And the low could be as simple as not being picked for line leader or a serious problem they’re having with a friend.
#2 What was one NEW thing you learned today?
When a child tells you something new they learned they are re-explaining it and partaking in a process that cements it to memory even more.
#3 Is there anyone in your class that’s having a hard time?
Often this question leads to helping people who are struggling. I want my child to have the tools to care for others.
#4 How did you help someone today?
This is the perfect follow-up to the last question. If a student is having a hard time, teach them how to help.
#5 What was the hardest thing you did today?
Victories are a great thing to talk about. It builds our child’s self-esteem. Teach them to look for victories big and small.
#6 What did you play at recess?
Even if the learning part of the day was stressful, children can always talk about what they did on the playground.
#7 What types of things/projects are coming up in your class?
Anticipating what’s coming next at school allows you to ask follow up questions on days they might not be as chatty.
#8 Who are your best friends right now?
This is another question that can always be answered. Kids will sometimes be closer to different children at different times of the year. Asking them about their friends lets them talk to you about relationships.
#9 What books are your reading in your class? Tell me about your favorite book.
Be a life-long learner. Fostering reading with your children is one the best things you can do for them.
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