How To Ask Your Kids How Their Day Was Without Asking… “How Was Your Day?”

Most teens when asked about their day will probably give you a one syllable answer like “fine” or worse, just a grunt. Well-meaning parents truly care about how their kids’ day went, but fail miserably in getting much out of them when asking them directly. Sooooo, what’s a parent to do? For starters, it’s best to not ask a general question, that to them, feels like the monumental task of rehashing their day—for better or worse. If you have a rough day chances are you don’t want to relive it by explaining because that usually risks those dreaded “follow-up” questions that kids are easily annoyed with. Instead, think in terms of smaller details. Also, the setting can make or break your efforts. I have always found driving in the car a good place to talk. No one is looking at them directly (at least I hope the driver is looking at the road) so it feels less threatening to open up. This also happens while you are working with them on things like making dinner, folding laundry, rearranging furniture, etc. You can casually talk and ask questions without making them feel like you are grilling them. Have a technology question? Ask your teen for help! They have a natural ability and have been brought up using technology.

Don’t forget to seize those windows of opportunities when they initiate the conversation. Those “windows” don’t always open as wide as they used to. And, by all means, when they do initiate, resist the urge to say “well, you didn’t want to talk when I asked you…” Nothing shuts a window faster or tighter than that.

Some ideas to initiate conversation:

• Where in the school do you hang out the most? (Like a particular hall, classroom, etc.) Where in the school do you never hang out?
• If you were a teacher what class would you teach? What class would be the worst to teach? Why?
• What was the coolest (saddest, funniest, scariest) thing that you saw today.
• Tell me one thing that you learned today.
• Who do you think you could be nicer to? Did you notice someone doing something truly kind today?
• What is your easiest class? What is your hardest class? OR What class are you learning the most in?
• What do you think you should do more of at school? What do you think you should do less of?
• What are the top 3 (or 5) things that you hear people say in the halls?
• What do you think the most important part of school is?
• Tell me one question that you had today…even if it wasn’t answered….actually, especially if it wasn’t answered…
• Who did you help today? Who helped you today?
• What part of the day do you look forward to? What part of the day do you dread?
• If you had to go to only one class every day which class would it be?