mom and child high-fiving after school (questions to ask your child after school)

As parents, we get asked a lot of questions. Somehow, kids can turn even saying “Mom” or “Dad” into a question. And yet, those same kids often struggle to answer our questions! You’ve tried it before with the classic after-school question: “How was your day at school?” And… nothing!

From my kindergartener to my teenage stepkids, we’ve come to expect one-word answers and a few blank stares when we ask how the day went. If we ask the right questions, though? Game changer!

At our son’s kindergarten orientation, his teacher gave some great advice about how to have better conversations with our kids when they get home from school. Elementary schools run on a very busy and structured schedule — and a lot happens between pickup and drop off! Posing thought-provoking questions to our kids can spark more memories in the child about things they experienced or felt during the school day. 

Here are a dozen examples of the types of questions we’ve started asking our kids after school — instead of, “How was your day?” 

  1. My son’s schedule has a “focus” subject every day — at some schools they call them “specials” — so we’re able to ask, “What did you make in art?” or, “Did you learn a new song in music?”
  2. Who did you sit with at lunch today? 
  3. Did you read any books today? 
  4. What was the question of the day? And what was your answer? 
  5. What book did you pick out at the library? 
  6. Did you play any new games at recess (or gym)?
  7. What made you laugh today?
  8. What was the best part of your day?
  9. What was hard for you today?
  10. Did anyone do anything nice for you today?
  11. Was anyone in your class missing today?
  12. What was the most interesting thing your teacher said today?
Courtney Medlin
Courtney was raised a Navy brat, growing up in Washington, South Carolina, and Virginia before her family put their roots down in Florida. She studied at Loyola University New Orleans earning her degree in communications PR with a minor in English, and she earned her master's in marketing from SNHU. She moved to the Boston area in 2008, where she met and married her partner-in-crime, John. Mother of Jackson, 5, and stepmom to two 16-year-olds (boy and girl) and dog mom to Riley. Courtney is raising her family with a love of the outdoors, scary movies, and lots of laughs. Courtney works corporate communications/marketing/pr and lives on the South Shore. She has a passion for cooking and traveling. She volunteers her time as a Gold Award advisor for the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts and serves on the planning gala committee for South Shore Health. She loves days that start with a latte and end with champagne.