How To Ask Your Kids About School Without Getting The Dreaded 'One-Word' Answer
August 31, 2014
Not getting the answers you're looking for from your kids? It's because you're not asking the right questions!
Two stay-at-home-moms over at Simple Simon And Company have figured out how to do it and composed this wonderful list!
Photo Credit: Holly Pacione Photography
This year Simon is in 4th grade and Grace is in 1st grade and I find myself asking them every day after school, "So how was school today?". And everyday I get an answer like "fine" or "good" which doesn't tell me a whole lot.
AND I WANT TO KNOW A WHOLE LOT!!!!
Or at get at least a full sentence. So the other night I sat down and made a list of more engaging questions to ask about school. They aren't perfect…but I do get at least complete sentences…and some have lead to interesting conversations…and hilarious answers…and a few insights into how my kids think and feel about their time at school.
#1. What was the best thing that happened at school today? (What was the worst thing that happened at school today?)
#2. Tell me something that made you laugh today.
#3. If you could choose who would you like to sit by in class? (Who would you NOT want to sit by in class? Why?)
#4. Where is the coolest place at the school?
#5. Tell me a weird word that you heard today. (Or something weird that someone said.)
#6. If I called your teacher tonight what would she tell me about you?
#7. How did you help somebody today?
#8. How did somebody help you today?
#9. Tell me one thing that you learned today.
#10. When were you the happiest today?
#11. When were you bored today?
#12. If an alien spaceship came to your class and beamed up someone who would you want them to take?
#13. Who would you like to play with at recess that you've never played with before?
#14. Tell me something good that happened today.
#15. What word did your teacher say most today?
#16. What do you think you should do/learn more of at school?
#17. What do you think you should do/learn less of at school?
#18. Who in your class do you think you could be nicer to?
#19. Where do you play the most at recess?
#20. Who is the funniest person in your class? Why is he/she so funny?
#21. What was your favorite part of lunch?
#22. If you got to be the teacher tomorrow what would you do?
#23. Is there anyone in your class that needs a time out?
#24. If you could switch seats with anyone in the class who would you trade with? Why?
#25. Tell me about three different times you used your pencil today at school.
So far…my favorite answers have come from questions #12. #15, and #21.
I actually love questions like the "alien" one (#12). They give kids a non-threatening way to say who they would rather not have in their class, and open the door for you to have a discussion to ask why, potentially uncovering issues you didn't know about before.
And the answers we get are sometimes really surprising. When I asked question #3, I discovered that one of my children didn't want to sit by a best friend in class anymore — not out of a desire to be mean or bully, but in the hope they'd get the chance to work with other people.
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