We all look forward to hearing how our children’s day went when we see them at the end of their day. We’ve been separated from them for almost 8 hours after all. When asked, “How was your day?”, many of our kids respond with “Good, fine”, or even a non-committal grunt. Some of us don’t have this issue at all, (I’m looking at you, Kindergarten), but for the rest of us there may be a work around that yields better results.
One of the easiest ways to circumvent this frustration is to change our own behavior. Although our kids like to believe that everything is our fault, this one may actually be. Here's advice from School Counselor, Stefanie Savage.
As adults, we also do not want to start rehashing the day the second we leave our stressful job, or jam packed day. We need time to drive home, unwind, and process before we are emotionally capable of reflecting and then expressing what has transpired during the day. When we are forced to respond before we have had time to process or while in an emotionally heightened state, like just after school, we will only blurt out minimal phrases like “I don’t know or good” for example. Give children space by asking questions alternative to, “How was your day” and give response time, by allowing them to engage in something they find enjoyable before attempting to dive into discussions. Giving our children both space and time will likely result in more substantial conversations later.
The second thing that we can do to try to get the conversation started, is be a little more creative with our conversation starters. Middle School Assistant Principal Shekeria Barnes, offers the following suggestions as alternatives to the, "How was your day, dilemma".
When did you notice yourself most interested and curious today?
Was there a time today when you were especially confused? How did you respond?
What is one thing that was hard to believe? Not confusing, but surprising?
If you were more ____ today, how would it have impacted the day?
When were you most creative today?
Tell me one fun thing you learned, one useful thing you learned, and one extraordinary thing you learned.
What does a successful day at school look like to you? Feel like?
What sort of different reasons do your friends go to school?
Who worked harder today, the teacher or the students?
How else could you have learned what the teacher taught?
How do your teachers show they care?
What do you know, and how do you know it?
What would you like to know more about?
What is the most important thing you learned today? The least?
Tell me one chance you took today, and how it ended up.
What is one thing you learned from a book?
What is one thing you learned from a friend?
What is one thing you learned from a teacher?
What still confuses you?
What is something you said or heard that stuck with you for some reason?
Based on what you learned today in ______ class, what do you think you’ll learn tomorrow?
Tell me three facts, two opinions, and one idea you heard today.
What should you do with what you’ve learned?
When did you surprise yourself today?
What’s stopping you from being an (even more) amazing learner?