ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — As students embark on another school year, you can bet parents are eager to know the details of their day.
Before you start the conversation with the very natural, "How was your day?", you might want to consider other questions that will better stimulate your child's openness. Otherwise, you could be met with a one-word answer such as "good," "fine" or "boring."
Jennifer Katzenstein, Ph.D. of Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital believes timing is everything when it comes to talking to your kids.
"The first step is really setting up a time during the day where we’ve put our devices away, we’re not on our screens, we’re paying full attention to each other."
Once the time is right, be sure to ask open-ended questions to get a better response out of your child and don't be afraid to sit in silence for a little.
"Often times (parents) just ask question after question after question and it’s also good to just sit in that silence and even if they’re not responding to a question that you’ve asked, give it a few extra sentences. It might get a little uncomfortable but eventually someone’s going to speak. Part of the key is sitting, waiting, and not jumping to the next question," explained Dr. Katzenstein.
It's also a bonus if parents can lead by example by sharing stories and moments from their day with their child to warm up the conversation.
20 questions to ask your kid instead of, "How was your day?"
- What made you smile today?
- How did somebody help you today?
- Do you like the seat you were assigned in class? Why?
- What was the best thing that happened at school today?
- Tell me one thing you learned today.
- Who had the best lunch?
- If you were the teacher, what would you teach your class?
- Did someone help you today?
- What happens when someone gets in trouble?
- What games do kids play at recess?
- Who is the funniest person in the class?
- Who in your class do you think you could be nicer to?
- Who would you like to play with at recess that you never played with before?
- When were you bored today?
- Where is the coolest place at school?
- Tell me something you learned about a friend today.
- What happens if you don't follow the rules?
- What made you feel proud today?
- What would you have changed about your day?
- Did you help anyone today?
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