OPINION

How was school today?

Ann CochranDallas Co. Public HealthAnn.Cochran@co.dallas.ia.us
How was school today?

If you ask your child or grandchild “How was school today?” or “What did you learn in school today?” you are likely to get a shrug of the shoulders.

How do get your kid to talk to you? Instead of asking general questions like those above, try zooming in on something specific to get the conversation rolling. It helps to give them something to grab onto. You could say, “Tell me something that made you laugh today.”

Also be aware that very young children don’t have the social graces that prompt them to introduce themselves to one another. Adults are sometimes amused when a child describes playing at recess with their best friend, but can’t recall their playmate’s name. Instead of “Who is your best friend?” ask “Where is the best place to play at recess?” or “What was your favorite part of lunch time?”

Students in grades 2 – 6 relish gross topics, and delight in questions such as “Did anybody throw up in the lunch room?” Even if the answer is no, the question may trigger a tale about some other unsavory incident. Try not to cringe – at least you’ve got them talking! To focus on the educational, how about “Tell me a weird word that you heard today” or “Tell me about three different times you used your pencil.”

As kids get a little older, they begin to have the ability to look outside themselves, so try the following types of questions. “How did you help someone today?” “Who is the funniest person in your class?”

Children learn by example, so be sure to share about your day. If children are told interesting stories about your interactions at work or at home, they will hear appropriate examples of this kind of conversation.