Life

Questions To Ask Your Kids Besides ‘How Was Your Day?’ That Will Actually Get Them Talking

For all the parents who want more than just "fine," "good" and "nothing."

School is in full swing, which means your kids are already bored with your endless questions about their day.

Maybe it starts at pick up or later over peas and carrots at dinner. If your kids are like mine, it is hard to pull details from them. You want the full story, all the dirt, a play-by-play of their day. You’ve missed them, and hearing about their day is not just polite conversation, it’s a window into how they are doing. Are they happy? Do they have friends? How are their teachers? What are they learning?

Whether you have young tots in preschool or high-school teens, post-school conversations follow a pretty standard format.

Mom: “Hi guys! How was your day?”

Kid 1: “Fine.”

Kid 2: “Good.”

Mom: “What did you do?”

Kid 1: “Play.”

Kid 2: “Nothing.”

Blurgh!! #overit

But, what if you could get your kids to really talk to you, and not just put up with you and your questions?

Maybe it’s not so much that your kids don’t want to talk to you as much as it is that you aren’t asking good questions in the right environment.

So where is the best place for a good chat, to get your kids really talking?

Funny mama author and blogger, Jen Hatmaker suggests the car may be the best place.

“The car is magic! Everyone is looking forward, everything is easy breezy, and all of a sudden… stuff starts coming out. It is such a good time to ask questions or just let them download something. We’ve covered more ground in the car than almost anywhere.”

So now that you have a captive audience, what should you ask?

Frustrated by the one-word answers she was getting from her son, Sara Goldstein at Parent.co compiled a list of 30 questions to ask kids to really get them talking.

Some of my favorites from her list would definitely get my kids talking and laughing, too. Because don’t we all fantasize about aliens taking our frenemies?

  • Did you catch anyone picking their nose?
  • What was the funniest thing that happened today?
  • Did anyone do anything super nice for you?
  • Which one of your teachers would survive a zombie apocalypse? Why?
  • If aliens came to school and beamed up 3 kids, who do you wish they would take? Why?

Zombie apocalypse not really your thing? Patricia Dischler, president of the National Association for Family Child Care, and Charles Fay, Ph.D., president of the Love and Logic Institute, shared successful starting points for getting kids to open up on Care.com, too.

One of their big suggestions is to ask pointed, specific questions like:

  • How is Jamie?
  • What did your best friend bring for lunch today?
  • What did you and Carly build with blocks today?

This line of questioning breaks their day down into specific friends, activities and moments—making it easier for them to recall details.

So, the next time you get in that carpool line, try to recall a few of these suggestions to get your kids to open up. You just might learn something, and at the very least your kid will know they can talk to you about anything, big or small—even an alien invasion.