This year, my daughter started kindergarten!
She was thrilled, and this mama was uber emotional that her first-born was officially headed to school (of course, I was excited for her too, but this was an emotional moment!).
Not only did our daughter start kindergarten, but she started school in an entirely different country. Due to my husband’s job, we temporarily relocated from America to Italy, and my daughter is trying her best to quickly acclimate to new surroundings and a new language, too. She’s a brave little girl, let me tell you.
Gone are the days that I asked questions allowing for one-word answers. This mama devised better questions, questions that allowed our daughter to open up and really share her feelings and experiences with me.
Well, every day after school, during my daughter’s first week of kindergarten, I excitedly asked her what she learned and how her day was, and every day I was met with the same answers: “Good,” “I don’t know” and “nothing really, Mommy.”
“Nothing really?” I wondered.
“How on Earth could she have nothing to say, especially since she’s in school in an entirely different country?” I confusedly asked my husband.
I wanted to know more about her day, but I couldn’t force her to speak. I thought she would at least voice her concerns about the language barrier or tell me about an art project or two, which happens to be her favorite subject, but I was met with one- and two-word answers.
After some thought, I decided to switch up my after-school-question strategy. Gone are the days that I asked questions allowing for one-word answers. This mama devised better questions, questions that allowed our daughter to open up and really share her feelings and experiences with me.
Since then, our conversations have certainly spanned far beyond the “I don’t know” and “nothing really, Mommy” responses, and I believe she looks forward to our after-school chats, too.
I welcome you to take a look at the 15 best questions to ask kids instead of “how was your day?” I promise you’re sure to receive more than a one-word answer!
- What made you smile today?
- What was your favorite part of the day?
- Who do you enjoy playing with at recess?
- What was your least favorite part of the day?
- How would you describe a perfect day at school?
- What did you learn today that you didn’t understand?
- Tell me something you know today that you didn’t know yesterday.
- What is something that challenged you?
- What questions did you ask at school today?
- What are you looking forward to tomorrow?
- What was the hardest rule to follow today?
- If you could change one thing about your day, what would it be?
- What made you feel proud?
- What do you hope to do before school is out for the weekend?
- What was for lunch today?
Bonus question (this is a personal favorite that always makes my daughter laugh): Which superpower do you wish you had at school today?
Listening to our children is incredibly important. We want our kids to know we are present and interested in their thoughts and feelings. Importantly, we want them to know they can talk to us about anything, big or small. My hope is that the questions mentioned above encourage your children to invite you into their special world, each and every day.