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Help a Mom: How do you get kids to talk about their day?

Posted November 1, 2011

Here's a question from a mom who wonders how to get more than a one word answer when she asks her kids how their day was. Any suggestions?

"How do you get your children to actually talk about their day? Every time I ask "How was your day?" I get a one word answer (good or fine, etc.) I'd love to have a real conversation and find out what's going on in their little lives. Any suggestions out there?"

Help a Mom features questions from readers every Wednesday. If you have a question that you'd like to ask Go Ask Mom readers, click here to email it to me.


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  • jbpersson Nov 7, 2011

    I make sure that I remember what they said last time we talked. I ask about the special they had that day or how a project went. I will respond with a predication of what a classmate said like "oh, I bet Katy didn't like that" or "the teacher must have been upset." This shows that I'm listening and gets them to open up even more.

    I agree that later in the evening is a better time to find details about their day.

  • shall6 Nov 3, 2011

    Another from my inbox: What works for me so far (kids are 8 and 6) is I ask them these 3 questions when I pick them up from school (and they can't use "repeat" answers):

    1) What was your favorite thing that happened today (or that you did)?
    2) What was your least favorite thing that happened today (or that you did)?
    3) What is something you learned today you did not know already?

    Sometimes they struggle with all the answers to all the questions so I don't push it, but I consistently ask every day.


  • shall6 Nov 2, 2011

    Another from my inbox: Ask them what their favorite part was. Also, ask them what they are thankful for. What was the most interesting thing they learned. What was their least favorite part. What would be one thing they would change. the trick is to ask specific questions. Helps for better answers.


  • Killian Nov 2, 2011

    Heh. I used to get that from my son, too. I'd make him tell me what happened and what he learned in each class, one at a time. After a year or so, he started doing it automatically as soon as he got in the car!

  • DWH4sure Nov 2, 2011

    Each night as I'm tucking my 9-year-old in bed I'll say "Tell me one funny thing that happened today." Sometimes it'll be "one weird thing that happened today", or "one sweet thing that happened today." That usually gets her talking, and before we know it I've heard all kinds of things about her day. Now, if I forget, she'll remind me - "Mom, you didn't ask me about my one funny thing today!"

  • ambear00 Nov 2, 2011

    I believe dinner time is a very important time for the family. We all discuss what we did during the day, with TVs and phones off. We all take turns talking about what happened and when you open up about your day, many times the kids will want to say what they did without you having to ask a thing. Not sure how this works with teenagers, but I still believe having a family dinner is very important for everyone in the family.

  • angelienna Nov 2, 2011

    Not all parents can be there when their kids come through the door and I can guarantee I never picked my kid of from a "kiddiepound". I did however pick my kid up from daycare and the Y afterschool program. We always talked about his day in the car and at home while I made dinner. Today at 15 I get text messages about his day as well as some long stories when he calls to let me know he is home. He sits on the counter while I cook and tells me in great detail things that happened at school. All because at a young age we talked about his day and it all started with 'what cool happened today'...? It is also a great way to find out which kids are the trouble kids in the classes and which ones are the good ones :-)

  • NCMOMof3 Nov 2, 2011

    @momoftwins, I love the "grossest thing" question. That is sure to get a conversation moving

  • shall6 Nov 2, 2011

    From my inbox: "I think the wrong question is being asked. try phrasing the question as "what are three things that went well with your day" or "three things that didn't go so well". I also try to be more specific such as "which subject did you enjoy the most and why did you like it". If you ask a question that allows a generic answer such as good or fine then that will be the answer you receive."


  • TandCsmom Nov 2, 2011

    I start with a very pointed question and go from there...what did you do when you walked into your class, then what did you do (I ask this question after he answers until I get all my answers!) and on. It works for my 5 yr. old.