Say, parent, do you fancy yourself a great conversationalist? While it may be easy to strike up a conversation with your adult peers, engaging your kids in meaningful after-school give and take can be more challenging.
If that’s your situation, know that you’re not alone! It’s natural to want to hear all about the academic and social elements of your child’s day, just as it’s natural for them to go silent with end-of-day fatigue.
Let’s consider some practical alternatives to the overly broad “how was your day” question so you can feel more involved in their education and model good communication skills.
1. Tell me one thing that made you laugh today.
We recommend that you start with a light topic and a smile! Time in the car or around the kitchen table doesn’t need to be exclusively about schoolwork . Show your child that you care about what tickles their funny bone.
2. Who in your grade would you like to know better?
Keep the conversation relational. Since social interaction is a significant part of the school experience, let your child take the lead in expressing some of their relationship aspirations.
3. Was there someone who helped you today?
The answer might be a teacher, a staff member, a coach, or a fellow student. Regardless, a follow-up statement of gratitude for someone who helped will reinforce a positive attitude of thankfulness.
4. Did you have a chance to help somebody today?
This question reminds a student of their personal responsibility to model Christ-like caring for classmates and teachers. While your child might not be able to answer in the affirmative, it could prompt some intentional acts of kindness when they’re back at school.
5. Tell me about the best class of the day.
This open-ended question can’t be answered with a “yes,” “no,” or “fine.”
Allow your son or daughter some time to think about this; remember that they’re processing the entirety of the school day! Their answer might provide the springboard for a follow-up question about what they learned in that class.
6. What was hard for you today?
The answer to this question could be academic, relational, or even physical. Take your cue for follow-up from how serious or heartfelt the answer seems to be. If something was very difficult for your child, expressing understanding might prompt them to provide more details. It’s often helpful to restate that you’ve heard, e.g., “it sounds like that test was really difficult,” rather than, “you should have studied harder.”
7. If you were the teacher, what would you do differently?
This question could help your child demonstrate critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and may also prompt a bit of empathy for the challenges their teachers face.
8. How can I pray for you before you start your homework? A similar idea: is there someone at school for whom we should be praying?
Show your child that you are ready to support them and their classmates through a sincere willingness to pray for their needs!
Topics like this demonstrate the strong partnership that Indian Rocks Christian Schools has forged with parents of school-age children in Largo, FL, since 1984. IRCS administrators, teachers, and staff seek to create an environment of genuine love and concern for each student and parent!