So, it’s officially back in school season all around the area. Can’t believe it is that time already. I know a lot of kids who are starting in new schools, new grades and in new school districts. Most of them were excited to get back in to the swing of things. I know a lot of parents who are very excited to get back into the school routine as well. A lot of families need that structure and scheduling to feel like they can make it to all of the life events. But, with all this structure and daily events, kids seem to lack in conversation skills with parents.
Talking to some friends of mine who have older children than I do, I hear a lot of them say they can’t get their kids to talk about their school day. The kids get home, do homework and then play on electronics or are off to sports practice. Dinner is quiet or on the run to the practices. Nobody can really get the kids to say anything more than “It was a good day”, when asked “How was your school day today?”. I know this can be the case with my little sister. If I ask her how her school day was, she usually just says “Good” and then continues on whatever she was doing. If this is your case, I’ve got a list of 10 conversation starters to help your kids open up about their day.
Conversation Starters with Children
- What was your favorite part of today at school?
- Who did you hang out with at school today? What makes them a good person?
- How did you help someone at school today? (If they didn’t – ask them how they can help someone tomorrow)
- Who did you sit with at lunch today?
- Who did you ride the bus home with today?
- If you could play anything at recess, what would you play?
- What’re you learning about in (their favorite class)?
- Did you make any mistakes today?
- What’re you excited to learn about in (favorite class)?
- What was your least favorite part of school today and why?
Bonus Question :
- Is there anything you’d like to tell me about your day?
As I started thinking about writing this post, I decided I would try some of these ideas out on my siblings, the next time I had dinner at my parents house. So, one night, I was at my parents house for dinner. Both of my younger siblings (7 and 11 yrs old) had their iPads out. They were watching different things on the iPad and I had had enough of the iPads and no conversation. So, I struck one up and was pleasantly surprised at how it went. My younger sister is even the one who came up with the bonus question listed above. After she was done answering a couple of the questions I had asked her. She ate some of her dinner and then looked at me and said, “Victoria, is there anything you’d like to tell me about your day?”. I was really proud of her for reciprocating the conversation without having to be nudged She did it all on her own and was genuinely interested.
She ate some more of her dinner and later on said, “Victoria, can I tell you something else about my day?”. So, I know these conversation starters seem basic or silly, but, they work. During any other dinner conversation, she’s glued to the iPad or acting crazy and getting in trouble. I’m sure you’ll have to change-up the questions and not use the same ones repetitively, as this will end up like the boring “How was your day?” conversations.
I asked my brother, who home schools, what he did today for school. His response was “Math”. Not gonna cut it buddy! So, I said, “Ok, Kev, you did math today, but, what did you learn in math?”. He told me about absolute numbers and integers, etc. So, it’s sparked a little more of a conversation than I normally get out of him. It was nice to hear him talk and be peeled away from the iPad or phone for a bit.
Like I said before, these conversation starters may seem a little excessive or silly, but, you’d be amazed at how many families just ask “Sally, how was your day?”. She says “good” and then Sally goes back to her electronics and the parents return to whatever they were doing.
Instead of just asking the normal “How was your day?”- try asking your kids any of the above ten ideas and see if this can help spark a conversation. It can totally change your conversation times. I hope these help open up some stories between you and your kids. A lot of the times, the kids just want to shut down and not talk about their day. Sometimes, when they’re younger, they don’t know HOW to open up.
What conversation starters do you use to help the spark with your kids? Share them in the comments below!