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How to Get Your Child to Tell You About Their School Day

Updated on January 28, 2015

Tell Me About Your Day...

Have you seen all the articles flying around Facebook about getting your kids to open up about their day?

I have two children, a preschooler and a first grader. Both of them are usually chatterboxes. But when it comes to that moment each day when I can't help but ask, "What did you do in school today?" all I seem to get is dead air. I have devised a few tricks to pry some information out of them which I will share below. I could always use a few more, so I hope you will share your ideas here too.

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This game gets rave reviews from parents everywhere. Table Topics was designed to engage school aged children in the art of conversation at the dinner table...or anywhere. Thought provoking questions like "is it more fun to be a parent or a child" and "is it harder for you to eat healthy or get exercise." will help get the conversation started with your kids. You will get to know your children in ways you never knew possible while they learn to express their thoughts and opinions and be heard.

The "Three Things" Game

Get to Them Through Their Silly Side

The first trick I came up with when my daughter started to clam up about school was what we call the "Three Things" game. This is how it works.

When we have some non-hectic time, usually while eating our after-school snack, I ask:

"Tell me three things that happened at school today, but make one of them up - and I will try to guess which one is not true."

This usually prompts giggles, and works particularly well when carpooling and I have another friend over for a play date. They giggle and try to come up with something really crazy. I get three things that topically go something like this:

- "We ate lunch in the cafeteria"

- "We had gym class today"

- "A real dinosaur was on the playground at recess"

Yeah...she has not quite grasped the fact that she should be trying to make the game a little harder for ME to guess the made-up event. The information I get out of this is usually something I could find out from the class schedule, but its a start.

The Best Thing / Worst Thing Game

This one sometimes unearths a good tidbit...but to be honest, the success rate is low. I will first ask my daughter to tell me the best thing that happened that day, and then to tell me the worst thing that happened that day.

The responses I get on this are varied. Sometimes I will get something really good like "I walked a little boy to the nurses office because he fell on the playground" (yes, that was the best thing for my daughter). On the flip side I might get the heartening, but not-so-informative "Nothing bad happened today!"

But alas, my follow up questions usually lead to a dead end. When I asked "Who was the boy who got hurt?" she answered "I don't actually know his name!"

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Call a Friend

Crushing...but Informative

My daughter loves the sense of independence that comes with being able to dial the phone. Lately she has been asking to call my mother - her grandma, and also enjoys talking to her Aunt Stacy (a former kindergarten teacher). I make sure to extend the offer to read her their phone numbers so she can call them a few times a week. Once she has dialed, I settle into a nearby room and try to glean some information about her day.

Usually the things that I have to pry out of her come rushing out easily once my little chatterbox gets on the phone. It is delightful to hear her go on about her day - bursting with the things she wants to share. Of course part of me is thinking "Hey! I asked about that and got no answer! What the...?"

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    • jdwheeler profile image

      jdwheeler 5 years ago

      Usually around the dinner table when I get home. Sometimes you get some responses that aren't necessarily true, but it's a start.

    • Kaellyn profile image

      Kaellyn 5 years ago

      Great ideas! Thanks!

    • MAMellott LM profile image

      MAMellott LM 5 years ago

      Very good ideas here, thanks for sharing. It's so hard to get children to talk about their school day, and it seems to get harder the older they get.

    • THNeto profile image

      THNeto 6 years ago

      The Three-Things Game is an excellent idea

    • Ann Hinds profile image

      Ann Hinds 6 years ago from So Cal

      Very cute with good ideas. Even through 4th grade we didn't get answers. This year we are homeschooling and I don't have to try to pry information out of him. Angel blessed

    • Kailua-KonaGirl profile image

      June Parker 6 years ago from New York

      Good well written advice for young Moms.