If your kids aren’t talking about their day, perhaps it’s because you are asking the wrong questions. In order to get kids talking, you must first pique their interest. These alternatives to the usual questions will capture your kids’ attention and entice them to share what’s going on in their lives.
How was your day?
Instead of: “How was your day?”
Try: “My day was boring. Tell me something interesting about yours.”
I like this approach because no matter what kind of day they had, they feel like you genuinely want to listen and they get to feel like they are entertaining you. They get to be the center of attention for a moment.
How are you doing today?
Instead of: “How are you doing today?”
Try: “Do you want to hear the best/worst thing that happened to me today?”
Then follow up with: “Now, it’s your turn. What’s the best/worst thing that happened to you?” By sharing a bit of your life while asking about theirs, you create an atmosphere of equality. Rather than parent and child, you become two human beings sharing their experiences together.
What’s new with you?
Instead of: “What’s new with you?”
Try: “Tell me something silly that happened today. I need a good laugh.”
Laughter can help kids relax and process the experiences that they have had.
How did it go today?
Instead of: “How did it go today?”
Try: “Did anything happen today that I should know about?”
I actually ask this one every day. You might get lots of ”No’s,” but if you keep this door open, your kids will come to expect it and be more willing to share when something does come up.
Tell me about your day
Instead of: “Tell me about your day.”
Try: Mentioning something that you know makes them happy.
Purposely bring up a friend or activity that they always want to talk about. To get to the “good stuff,” you have to be willing to listen while they talk about what interests them.
Did you have trouble on that test?
Instead of: “Did you have trouble on that test?”
Try: “Were you kind to anyone today?”
Rather than pressuring kids about academics, keep their focus on making the world a better place and let them know it starts with them.