Beyond 'How Was Your Day?': New Questions For Your Kids | Kidadl


Beyond 'How Was Your Day?': New Questions For Your Kids

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"How was your day, honey?"

"OK. Can I play now?" If that brief exchange sounds familiar, you're not alone.

Parents everywhere can struggle to learn about their child's day, particularly when they come home from a long day at school. Younger children may lack the right communication skills, while teenagers often run to their own agendas. But with a little thought, we can find different ways to say "how was your day?" that may get them to open up a little more.

Here, we've come up with six questions to try instead of how was your day that should work for most people.

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Why Do Kids Hate Being Asked 'How Was Your Day'?

Find good questions of the day for families here.

Think about how you reply when someone asks you "how was your day?". More often than not, you probably respond with a "fine" or "not bad" or even a "can't complain". It's similar to questions like "How are you?", "How's things?" or "Wassup?". The question is usually asked as part of polite small talk, rather than a genuine appeal to learn everything that happened to you today.

It's the same with kids. You've probably welcomed them home with the same question after every school or kindergarten day for years. Most children will give an "OK" or "fine" or just a grunt, before launching into whatever topic they want to talk about.

There may be a deeper reason why generic questions don't get an enthusiastic response in smaller children. Their brains haven't yet learned to deal with broad questions. Any meaningful answer to "How was your day?" requires some serious thought and conversation skills. How do you reflect on the hundreds of things that happen in a day, pick out the ones that your parents will be most interested in, then sum it all up for them? It's too much for a young child to parse. Generic questions are not a good way to encourage a child to talk.  

How Important Is It To Find Out About Their Day?

As caring parents, you'll pick up on the general mood of your child, and you should be able to tell if something is playing on their mind. That's a good start, but if you're going to help them work through any problems, you'll need to find out the specifics.

There's a second reason we ask people about their day, though, and that's to show them we care. Everybody, and kids in particular, needs to know that they are noticed and valued by the people at home and around them. Any kind of "how are you?" goes some way towards that. But you can help build stronger bonds by finding another way to say "how was your day?".

Finding new ways to ask "how was your day?" can strengthen family bonds.

New Ideas For Asking Your Kids About Their Day

As previously discussed, you should avoid generic, open-ended questions like "tell me about your day?" or "how was your day?". Instead, we need to find more specific things to ask, or use a question more likely to start a conversation and uncover any areas they may need help with. Here are six alternatives to "how was your day?".

Did anything make you smile/laugh today? A good positive question to ask, which should get them talking about the better parts of their day. You can then springboard to ask if anything made them feel sad, or for which they need your help.

Who did you sit with at lunch? This is a question with only one or two possible answers, so should be easy for your child to answer. You'll learn more about the people he or she hangs around with, which could lead to conversations about friendship.

What's the best question of the day that teacher asked? This gets them thinking about one specific voice, that of their teacher. They should be able to recall at least one of the many questions raised in class, which will lead to a conversation about their school day and work. If "best" doesn't work, you may find that something else, like "toughest", "funniest" or "easiest" works better. You can then bounce off into new angles to find out more about their school life that day.

What did you wish you did more of today? This is another great question for getting kids of all ages to tell you about the real highlights of their day. You can, of course, flip it to ask for what they wish they'd done less of.

What songs did you listen to today? Bringing in other senses is often a good way to get a response. Music can be particularly important to children and teens, and may be a useful way to help them come out of their shell and talk. You can again adapt the question to "what book did you read?", or "what game did you play?", depending on the person and their passions.

How is your day going to go? Instead of asking how was your day, you could try starting with something a bit more forward-looking. It's a bit easier to respond to than a question about the day just gone, as the child doesn't have a great number of possible subjects to talk about. They will instead mention the things they're either really looking forward to (maybe a game of football) or the things they're dreading (such as a particular lesson). Hopefully, they will respond enthusiastically, saying "we're gonna have a good day!" Either way, you can use it to start a good conversation.

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Matt Brown
Written By
Matt Brown

<p>With a Bachelor's degree in Chemistry and a Master's in Residency specializing in Biomolecular Sciences and roots in the Midlands, Matt has developed a passion for writing about London. As a former editor and prolific contributor to, he has authored several books exploring the city's hidden gems. In addition to his work, Matt enjoys spending time with his two preschool-aged children.</p>

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