How to Get Kids to Open up About Their School Day

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I love the ideas in this post by Michele Borba, Educational Psychologist. I would like to give parents some more specifics in regards to a couple of her points.


Point 1-Wait at least half an hour

This is a great tip as kids are exhausted and overwhelmed by the time they get home. Give them some down time and a really healthy snack. A snack of nuts and fruit and cheese will give them some energy for tackling homework and answering questions.

Point 2-Don’t turn questions into a third degree

This is so true. It’s easy to ask and ask and ask. If your child is not answering your first question or two, give him some more time to decompress. He’ll probably talk more later.

Point 3-Look interested

This seems easy, but sometimes a parent might be asking questions while doing some other chore. Stop and take time to sit down at the table or on the couch with your child while you talk.

Point 4-Ask questions that require more than a yes or a no

This one is probably the hardest because yes/no questions are the easiest to ask and the ones we think of first. So, instead, ask something like “What homework do you have tonight?”, “What did you and your friends do at lunch today besides eat?” “Who had the tastiest/healthiest lunch today?” See my blog for more specific questions to ask before and after school.

Point 5-Don’t use the same questions

This goes back to point 4 and being creative with your non-yes/no questions. Again, see my blog for specific questions.

Point 6-Stop and listen

Great point! Your child might not answer questions when you ask, but he might volunteer information on the drive home, during dinner, or right before bed. Take time to stop and listen when your child is ready to talk. You never know when he might want to share information again. Seize the moment.

Point 7-Stretch conversation with “Invitation Openers”

Sometimes it’s better to just listen, and sometimes it’s good to say things like “Wow” or “Tell me more.” You know your child the best and you know what will keep them talking.

Point 8-Repeat “talk” portions

This is similar to point 7. Do what works for your child.

Point 9-Make your house kid-friendly

Absolutely! If all the kids are at your house, you will definitely hear more about your child’s life in and out of school. Besides, if everyone is at your house, you always know where your child is.

Point 10-Get on the school website

This one is the most frustrating for teachers. We spend a ton of time updating our websites to keep parents informed, but when we track it, we find that parents don’t even look at the website. Please, please, take time to read your child’s teacher’s website. You can learn so much about what your child is doing at school. This will give you more information and more ideas about what questions to ask your child. We always say, if you have time to check Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, you have time to look at the teacher’s website.

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