15 Questions to Replace ‘How Was School Today?’
How often have you asked your child, “How was school today?” and been frustrated because you didn’t get a response from them? Even though I don’t receive much of an answer from my son most of the time, I can’t help but ask him this question on a regular basis because I’m a parent.
To tell you the truth, there are occasions when I haven’t had the strength for an actual dialogue. On other occasions, I find that I just am unable to think of any questions to ask. As a teacher, I have frequently desired that the students would tell their parents about the amazing things that we were accomplishing in the classroom, but I have never been able to figure out how to make it happen.
In light of the fact that his teachers are less likely to communicate with me now that he is in middle school than they were when he was in elementary school and that there is more going on at school about which I need to be informed, I have compiled a list of questions that are designed to elicit relevant information from him. When I was teaching, I really wish that I could have sent this list to the parents of my students so that they could have been informed of all that was going on in our classroom.
These questions, with some minor language adjustments, can be used effectively with children of varying ages:
Share with me a time today when you were thrilled about what you were learning and what it meant to you.
Tell me about a time in class when you felt like you didn’t understand something.
Think about the things you learned and accomplished in class today. What is it that you feel like you need to learn more about? What is a question that has arisen for you as a result of the things you have learned today?
Have you experienced any bouts of anxiety during the day thus far? When did you last experience fear?
Have you experienced any moments today in which you felt that you were treated with contempt by anyone? Please enlighten me about those specific times.
When you were here today, did you ever get the impression that one of your classmates was showing concern for you?
Have there been any parts of today in which you felt very pleased of yourself?
Please tell me about an enjoyable discussion that you had with a fellow student or a close friend.
What was difficult about the day that you had?
What aspects of today do you feel especially grateful for?
What new insights did you gain about who you are today?
Is there anything in particular that you’d like to discuss, and that there’s a chance I could shed some light on for you?
Is there anything that makes you nervous or anxious?
What are you looking forward to the most about the day after tomorrow?
Is there something more specific about your day that you’d like me to inquire about?
TIPS FOR ASKING QUESTIONS
The responses we get from our children are heavily influenced by both the manner in which we inquire about these topics and the timing of our inquiries. To begin, you shouldn’t make the mistake of posing all of these inquiries on the same day. You might consider asking one or two people. After some time has passed, you will gain an understanding of which ones evoke the answers that are the most meaningful. It is important to pose the question at a moment when you will be able to pay carefully to the response, so that your kid will have the impression that you are paying them your complete attention. The best times to have these conversations with my child and with my family as a whole are during meals and while we are travelling in the car.
These exchanges have developed into a habit at this point. My kid is aware that whenever we get in the car to go to school, I will inquire as to what he is looking forward to, whether there is anything that is causing him concern, and whether there is anything that he would like to discuss with me and that I might be able to assist him in figuring out.
The following are some ways in which your conversations can become more uplifting and influential:
Don’t interrupt. This is a wonderful rule to follow during any conversation, but it is especially helpful when you are trying to extract a lot of information from a child.
Ask for more. Just say something along the lines of “I’d love to hear more about it…” Or, “Would you mind elaborating on it a little bit?”
Inquire into people’s feelings. Ask a child, “How did you feel at that moment?” after you’ve listened to them explain an experience. What have you noticed about the way that you are feeling?
Validate sentiments. Whatever feelings your child has are perfectly natural and acceptable. Make sure they are aware of that. Feelings are okay. Inform them of this.
Tell them that it is unacceptable for either teachers or students to be nasty or mean to one another. If they tell you a tale about a teacher who yelled at them or mistreated them, you should make it clear to them that it is unacceptable for an adult to treat them in such a manner, regardless of what the student may have said or done. The same is true of the manner in which they are dealt with by other children.
Express your gratitude to them for sharing with you. Always show appreciation for their honesty and openness to share not only the positive moments, but also the challenging ones. This will boost their self-assurance, which will lead to them telling you more.