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Going to School

Questions that Work

Whatever your child’s age, a specific question, or even a specific statement, may prompt more of a response than the more general “How was school today?” If you listen to your child’s answer, and (if the opening is there) ask another question, you’ll be on your way to a meaningful conversation.

Ask kids about what interests them:

  • “What did you do that was fun today?”
  • “Did anything funny happen?”
  • “What did you like best today?”
  • “Did you read any new books in library?”
  • “How did the science experiment turn out?”
  • Ask about specific people and events in your child’s life:

  • “Did Mrs. Stone go over that math test?”
  • “What did Mr. Zeiner talk about in social studies?”
  • “Who’d you sit next to on the bus?”
  • “Did Mrs. Davis call on you today?”
  • “Are you and Helen still having a hard time?”
  • “How are you and Charlie doing?”
  • “What do your friends think about the substitute teacher?”
  • Ask kids about what bugs them. Everybody likes to complain, so if your child is in a bad mood, ask what’s wrong. You might find that within a few minutes, your child is telling you what she likes. You might ask:

  • “Anybody get on your nerves today?”
  • “Was your teacher annoying again?”
  • “Was there anything really hard for you?”
  • Make comments about schoolwork. You can look over your child’s work or the teacher’s weekly class note, and ask:

  • “Wow, what a cool picture of a squirrel. I like the bushy tail. What does he use it for?”
  • “Can you explain photosynthesis to me?”
  • “What is a whole number, anyway?”
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