Instead of asking that boring old question “How was your day?” we’ve got 5 inventive ways for you to engage your child in conversation.
Young children don’t always know how to volunteer information about their day, but will respond when asked in different ways. Teaching them to share when they’re young helps their language development and might prevent these kind of responses when they’re teenagers.
How do you get your child to tell you about their day?
Simple. Make it fun!
1. Snack, share, chat
Simple as that.
Time for an afternoon snack? Divide up the snacks as you share – “One for me, for you. You tell me one thing – I’ll tell you something”. Share something funny that happened in your day – after all you want help your child to learn the skills of back and forth conversations.
2. Show & Tell
Think you don’t have time to listen? Ask your children to draw, make or build to show you something they did in their day. They can do it together or individually – you can be multitasking (folding washing, peeling potatoes and emptying lunchboxes!) while they’re recreating something from their day just for you.
3. Making a song & dance
Kids love to be silly with you – you can sing questions and answers in the car to the tune of songs they know. At home, act out something you did in your day and get them to do it too. Put some music on and get them to show you some moves.
4. Ask open ended questions
You don’t want to ask closed questions and end up with those yes/no/maybe/dunno answers. Open up to let your child give details – but make sure your questions aren’t so general, like the “so what did you do today?” that your child becomes swamped trying to find an answer.
Some question suggestions:
- What was the funniest thing you heard all day?
- Who did you spend the most time with today?
- What’s a nice thing you said to someone today or what’s a nice thing someone said to you (either way)?
- Tell me about a game you played today?
- Where was the most fun place you played today?
- See more question ideas here
After all they get to ask you questions – all the time!
5. Pick your Time & Place – then Listen
You know how after a long tiring day you just want some time to unwind? Some days asking questions as soon as you pick up your children might be too soon. Talk to kids later, after they’ve had time to unwind. Kick a ball in the backyard. Talk together while they’re in the bath. When you do ask give your child space to tell you before you jump in with more questions.
Whatever you do – change it up – the same thing won’t work every day for you or the kids.
But talking and laughing together at the end of the day – priceless