Questions To Ask Your Kids After School

How many times have you had this after school conversation with your child?

Parent: “How was school today?”

Kid: “Good.”

Aaaand…that’s it.

Why does it always feel like pulling teeth when you ask about your kid’s day?

Here are a few tricks I’ve used and parents have shared with me to get their kids to open up:

1) Don’t ask ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions. If you do, that’s the only answer your kids will give you. Instead, try leading your kids with short, open ended questions like:

“Who did you sit next to at lunch today?”

“Did anything funny happen today in class?”

2) “Did any kids get in trouble today?”

This question will get your kid’s attention. And sometimes, you’ll find out more than you would expect.  If your child tells you he or she got in trouble in school, don’t react right away.  You want your kid to feel comfortable talking to you when he or she does something wrong.  It’s a great precedent to set while your kids are young. Ask what your child would do differently next time in that situation, so hopefully it doesn’t happen again.

3) Turn “How was school today?” into a fun game. Our friend Amanda gave us this fun idea for after school:

Step 1) Take a piece of paper and write down 5 questions about the school day.

Here are a few examples:

“What’s the biggest difference between 3rd and 4th grade?”

“If I called your teacher tonight, what would she tell me about you?”

“If your brother was in your class, what would have been his favorite part of the day?”

“Who did you play with at recess?”

“What was the hardest thing you did at school today?”

Step 2) Write down 3 bonus “reward” tickets that say “snack” or “tv.”  

Step 3) Cut out all the questions into thin strips and put them into a bowl or cup.

Step 4) Have your child pull out 3 tickets.  As long as they answer 3 questions, or get lucky with a bonus ticket, they win a small reward!

Now my kids are excited to play this quick game every day and I learn a lot more about their day! Hope you get some answers tomorrow when your kid comes home from school

-Lauren Goldblatt, Teacher and Co-Founder at KickstartReading.com