How do you ask your kid about his day at kindergarten? Do you use the old question parents often ask: “How was your day?” and hear its evasive answer given by your kid: “Fine”? To avoid this generic answer and to engage your kid in a pleasant conversation, we came up with two methods. We also gathered some appropriate open-ended questions.
Instead of asking your kid “How was your day?” or “How was kindergarten?”, you should try asking some open-ended questions. Open-ended questions are those who require more than a “Fine”, “Yes” or “No” answer. Before we get to the examples, I want to share with you our strategies. So, here’s how we do it.
We have the conversation daily, while I make dinner, during dinner, when we go for a walk, before we read the bedtime story or whenever we find the appropriate moment. I always start the conversation by sharing (with great enthusiasm) all the fun, different, curious or exciting things that happened to me during the day. I try to add a lot of details and turn all the facts into a catchy story. Sometimes, our girl gets very excited and she tells us, with a lot of details, too, that something even more interesting has happened to her during that day. From here, I take the conversation further and I begin to ask her various open-ended questions (see the list below). I often answer these questions first, to keep her engaged.
Me: “Today I met an old friend I haven’t seen in 2 years! Can you imagine?”
Her: “Ooo. I played with our new colleague today!”
Me: “That’s great! What did you play?”
Her: “We played with dolls. She loves dolls and puppets.”
Me: “That means you have something in common. Well, I didn’t play with my old friend, like you did with your new colleague, but we ate breakfast together. We ordered scrambled eggs with grilled cheese and vegetable salad. The food was sooo good! Was your lunch as tasty as my breakfast? ”
Her: “Oh, yes! It was my favourite: couscous with vegetables and turkey meat! I asked for more, haha!”
And so on…
I engage into a conversation with Daddy, in the proximity of our daughter. I’ve noticed that our girl pays close attention to our conversations and she usually intervenes in our discussions, either by asking questions, or by sharing with us something related to the subject of our talk. From here on, we focus our discussion towards our daughter’s day, using open-ended questions.
Examples of useful open-ended questions:
- What made you smile today?
- Who did you play with today? Was it fun?
- What was one nice thing you did for someone today?
- Did you learn any new poems/songs today? Can you teach me, so we can recite/sing together?
- Who shared its snack/toys with you?
- Why do you like it when other people share with you? Why?
- Did you tell anyone “thank you” or “you’re welcome” today? Why?
- What was the hardest thing you had to do today? Do you want to practice it together?
- What are you thankful for today? Why?
- Did any of your colleagues do anything funny?
- What do you wish you would do more often in kindergarten?
- What is a skill you would like to learn in kindergarten?
A helpful book on the subject:
Pollock’s innovative guide gives you the tools needed to approach these questions with your children. He hopes that you will ask them a variety of the questions included and truly listen to their answers. Your children may surprise you with their emotional intelligence and maturity. They may even have questions of their own. Each one of the seven hundred questions included could spark an entire evening of important family discussion.
How do you ask your preschoolers about their day?
Do share with us your strategies!