Mom shares 5 questions to ask your kids after school, instead of ‘How was your day?’
Have you ever picked up your kid from school and asked them, “How was your day?” and they responded with a one-word answer such as “Good,” “Fine,” or “OK”? This all-too-common interaction can be disheartening because, as a parent, you want to know what your child did during the 6 hours you were apart.
Let’s be honest: not every day can be “fine.” There are probably some days that weren’t so great that got glossed over. Or, some beautiful days, but your child didn’t feel like doing the emotional or mental labor of recalling everything.
Yamel Belen, a mother of 5 kids ages 7 to 25, who lives in Tampa, Florida, was tired of hearing the same old responses from her kids, so she started asking open-ended questions to get the ball rolling. She shared her conversation starters on TikTok, and the view has really resonated with parents, earning 740,000 views.
“I really hated getting the ‘It was good’ response to my after-school questioning,” Belen, a registered nurse originally from Brooklyn, told The New York Post. “I wanted to know everything about their lives at school and felt like I was doing something wrong [as a mother].”
“So, I started asking questions that would give me better responses,” she added.
I really hated getting the “it was good” reaponse to my after school questionining! I wanted to know more, all of it….so I started digging for questions that would give me better responses. Try these and let me know how it goes! . . . . . #afterschoolroutine #schoolpickupfun #schoolpickipline #motherhoodseries #motherhoodkit #motherhoodlife #motherhoodunplugged #bondingwithkids #openendedquestions #motherdaughterrelationships
Here are 5 questions that Belen says will open up some conversation with your kids:
“What made you smile today?”
“Who did you sit next to at lunch?”
“Did you see any acts of kindness today? If so, what were they?”
“Did you see any acts of people being unkind, and if so, what did that look like?”
“What part of the day made you super happy?”
“Remember, these are conversation starters, so they’re meant to have open-ended responses, Which leads you to better conversations with your kids,” Belen added.
Belen says that the conversations opened up the lines of conversation with her elementary school daughters, ages 7 and 9, and her 17-year-old son. “Now I’m getting all the tea,” Belen joked.
Dana Basu, PsyD, a licensed clinical psychologist in private practice at everGROW therapy, agrees with Belen in that asking “How was your day?” will probably cause your kids to draw a blank.
“I love asking my kids specific questions about their school day, which helps point their attention to specific moments,” Dr. Basu tells Verywell Family. “I find that this allows them to be better able to recall stories and moments from their day with me.”
Elizabeth Manly, who currently runs the website Discovery Play With Littles, adds that parents should set an example by sharing about their days, too. Parents don’t have to go on about the adult world of work, either. They can talk about what made them happy or moments of kindness they noticed.
“The more you tell them, the more they will understand how to talk about their day,” Manly said. “Oftentimes, younger kids don’t know how to talk about their day. We forget this is also a skill that has to be taught.”
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