Creative Child

10 New Ways to Ask Your Kid, “How Was School Today?”

by Mary Reckmeyer

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Jump-start the conversation by asking your kids these 10 questions aimed at what they naturally do best:

1. For kids who are energetic self-starters, ask what they accomplished that day or week. It can be an activity with friends, a class project, or some other responsibility.

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Jump-Start Question: What is the best compliment you received today, and what was it for?

2. For children who show empathy and want to make a difference, ask them how they helped someone that day or how they showed someone they cared.

Jump-Start Question: What is one way you were a good friend today?

3. Ask children who like to compete — and win — if they won any classroom challenges or if they scored the highest on a quiz.

Jump-Start Question: What did you do more of or better than someone else today?

4. For kids with high self-confidence, ask them if they are trying new things, like joining clubs or groups at school.

Jump-Start Question: What were you most proud of today? What are you looking forward to tomorrow?

5. If your kids are responsible and trustworthy, ask them how they’re a good example to younger kids.

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Jump-Start Question: What is your favorite job to do at school? Who counts on you to get it done?

6. For children who are thinkers, who love to learn and have lots of questions, ask them if they have a favorite new idea and what they want to learn.

Jump-Start Question: What are you studying now? What are all the details?

7. Ask kids who dream about the possibilities of the future what they see themselves doing next year or five years from now.

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Jump-Start Question: What did you do today that helped you learn more about the future?

8. For kids who are planners and who enjoy perfection and details, ask if they helped a friend or teacher stay organized.

Jump-Start Question: Did things go as planned today? If something didn’t go as planned, what did you learn from it?

9. Are your kids natural leaders or charismatic entertainers? Ask if they have a favorite person they like to watch or listen to and what they like about that person’s performance.

Jump-Start Question: Did you make anyone laugh today? What did you say or do that was funny?

10. If you have kids who build long-lasting friendships or easily make friends, ask about what’s going on in their friends’ lives.

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Jump-Start Question: Did you make any new friends today? How many friends do you have at school?

Taking small moments to connect individually with your children will show them that you enjoy their unique qualities. Listen to your kids’ stories about school, activities and friends. And make sure to really listen. You will gain insights into their world, and they really will enjoy telling you about their day.

Mary Reckmeyer, Ph.D. is Executive Director of the Donald O. Clifton Child Development Center, which has received national attention for excellence in early childhood education. She has written books for children and parents. Her most recently published book Strengths Based Parenting: Developing Your Child's Innate Talent empowers parents to embrace their individual parenting style by discovering and developing their own — and their children’s — talents and strengths.

Mary is a former preschool and elementary teacher who holds degrees in educational psychology and education. Her research focus is on youth strengths development, educational programming, and lifespan development.

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