Tips on different ways to ask 'How was school today?'

School is just about in full swing for everyone and it can be hard to not get lost in the mix of it all as a parent with afterschool activities, sports and the like. And since we don’t get to be a fly on the wall in our kiddos’ classrooms, never mind how tricky it can sometimes be to get the scoop, here are some tips on different ways to ask, 'How was school today?' (because let’s be real, more often than not, that doesn’t lend itself to details, and we want details!)

First, make opportunity-

- You may be busy trying to get dinner together, but get your kids involved and casually converse while they help in the kitchen.

- You may have to be deliberate. Ask, how did lunch go and/or what did you have for lunch? What did you do in PE today? This can spur on social conversations and in-class dynamics indirectly.

Conversation starters with the kids-

  • Keep questions open-ended
  • Be engaging
  • Put down your phone, give kids (or really, anyone you’re with) your full attention

Instead of “How was school today?” Try…

  • “Tell me about something that made you laugh today.”
  • Playing high-low – invite the kids to share the high and low of what happened that day at school.
  • “Tell me about something you learned today.”
  • “Who did you play with at recess? What games did you play?”
  • “Did you fill anyone’s bucket today? How?”
  • “What was the story in Reading about today?”
  • “If you could trade seats with anyone in class, who would it be, and why?”

And for teens…

  • “If your day at school today was a movie what movie would it be?”
  • “Besides walking to class, what else do people do in the halls between classes?”
  • “Are there any classes you get to have snacks in? What’s your favorite to snag from the vending machine?”
  • “What was the coolest (saddest, funniest, scariest) thing that you saw today?”
  • “Tell me one question that you had today…even if it wasn’t answered….actually, especially if it wasn’t answered…”
  • “What part of the day do you look forward to? What part do you dread?”

-excerpted from Simple Simon and Company


Don't take it personally or give the 3rd degree if your kids straight up don't want to talk.

1.) It's been a long day for them

2.) Not a whole lot may have gone on at school that day

Keys to good communication with kids is just being open, giving them attention when it's needed and engaging your kids in conversation. It doesn't have to be a "sit down," even the most casual of conversations can mean the most. For instance, my daughter came into the bathroom while I was putting on makeup one morning and she asked me something about my makeup. We got to talking about it, and it led into conversing about getting older and the like. Talking with kids doesn't have to be a check list of dos and don'ts. Just take time and be present physically, emotionally and mentally.