By Aaron Earls
As school starts back up, parents across the country know the following scenario will repeatedly play itself out the entire year.
“So, how was your day at school?” you ask as you pick your child up from school. “Fine,” they answer as they slump down in the seat.
Is that a good “fine” or a bad “fine”? You are curious about their day. You want to parent them as best you can, but you can’t seem to get much information out of them.
You know the answer before you even ask the well-worn question, but you don’t really know another way to talk to them about all that happened at school.
One solution may be to offer your child a snack, according to Jana Magruder, director of Lifeway Kids. “That way your child is focused on something else and might be more willing to share—and be in a better mood if they are hungry,” she says.
Asking different questions can also lead to a different result. It may take a little more work, but there are some questions that can help open conversations with your kids and draw out responses that are more than fine.
Before you ever ask one question, however, take the time to pray for your children and the discussions you have with them. Then, hopefully, these 23 questions can spark deeper conversations between you and them.
- What was the best thing that happened to you today?
- If you could change one thing about today, what would you change?
- Did anyone miss out on an opportunity to show kindness?
- What was the coolest thing you learned today?
- Did a friend do anything to make you smile?
- What was your favorite thing your teacher talked about?
- Did you a play a game at recess?
- Is there someone at school who could use a friend?
- What was the craziest thing that happened in class?
- Tell me something that made you laugh today.
- What new word did you learn today?
- If you could choose to sit beside anyone in class, who would it be?
- Did you discover a new book or a favorite character?
- If you could be a teacher, what subject would you teach?
- What could have happened to make today more interesting?
- Give me three interesting facts from school today in 30 seconds. Go!
- Is there anyone that you try to avoid around school?
- What was the most interesting thing you saw walking the halls between classes?
- How did you see God at work during your day?
- Did you have a chance to show Jesus to someone else?
- Did anyone show Jesus to you today?
- What happened today at school that we can pray about?
- How can we best pray for your teacher and your class?
Some are more appropriate for younger children, while others are best suited to older students. Adjust and tweak as needed.
But don’t merely go through the list asking one question after another the moment you see your kid. Don’t turn your time with your children into just another test they have to take.
“Too many questions all at once can shut kids down or worse—make them dread having to face the daily pop quiz!” Magruder says. “Make your questions more conversational and interactive and you’ll find they will more readily share with you.”
Have you found any questions that work well with your kids? What have been some of the best school stories one of your questions brought out?
Aaron Earls is senior writer/editor of LifewayResearch.com.