Questions to ask your children after school

Having a difficult time getting more than "fine?"

By Elaine Stottlemyer, Counselor
For Parents
September 27, 2018

“Fine.”  Is that the answer you are repeatedly getting from your child when you ask, “How was school today?”  For some of us, getting our children to share about their experiences during their day is the hardest task we face in the afternoons and evenings.  Some kids need time and space to decompress after school, and maybe we need to change our questions. Here are some open-ended questions to try when you find that your child may be open to talking:

  1. What did you like best about your day?  Why?
  2. Is there anything you would like help with?
  3. What is your favorite thing to do during recess?  Who did you play with?
  4. What’s the silliest thing that happened today?
  5. What are you grateful for today?  Why?
  6. Did you help someone today?  Tell me about it.
  7. What did you notice today that most people probably didn’t notice?
  8. I need a laugh. Tell me something funny that happened today.
  9. Who did you sit by at lunch?
  10. What made you feel happy today?
  11. Did you learn something you’d never known before?  Tell me about it.
  12. Did something surprise you today?  Tell me about it.
  13. Did you do anything different today?  How was it different?
  14. Did someone help you today?  Tell me about that.
  15. Tell me about the songs you are learning in music.
  16. What is a school rule that you find easiest to follow?  Why?
  17. What was your favorite thing that you ate for lunch today?
  18. What are you looking forward to? Why?
  19. What made you smile today?  Tell me about it?
  20. Tell me something that you learned that I don’t know.
  21. What made you feel proud today?
  22. Did you do or say something today that made someone else smile?
  23. If you were the teacher, what would be your favorite subject to teach?  Why?
  24. Would you rather be a teacher, principal, bus driver, counselor, or cafeteria manager?  Why?
  25. If you were asked to re-design the playground, what would you do?  Why?
  26. During which activity today did you work with someone else?  What did you like about working with a classmate?
  27. What questions did you have today?  Who answered them for you?
  28. What did you do today that was good for your health?
  29. Did you set any goals today?  What did you do today to help you reach a goal?
  30. Tell me about a connection that you made today.