How to do you get kids to talk about their day? It’s simpler than you think.
As a parent, those three words — “How was your day?” — can make us feel like we’re pulling teeth whenever our kids respond with one-word answers or shrugs. You might be desperate to hear stories about the newest friends they made or even get an idea of what’s causing them stress, but too often it feels impossible to get anything more than monosyllabic responses out of them. That doesn’t have to be the case! With some effort and creativity on your part, you can learn more about their world by guiding conversations that are enjoyable for both you and your child. Read on for tips on how parents can open up lines of communication with their children and help create meaningful connections through conversation.
Talk about your day first to set the example
Setting a good example is one of the best ways to get kids to open up about how their day went. Model how you start your day, how you deal with different tasks, and how you stay calm even when things don’t go according to plan. Share stories about how your day went, making sure to emphasize how you faced challenges and how you overcame them. Giving positive reinforcements, praising successes, and acknowledging attempts that weren’t successful, can also help increase your child’s willingness to share details on their own days. By talking first each day, it puts the whole family at ease and creates an environment where everyone is safe and willing to share their feelings.
Get kids talking by asking open-ended questions
Engaging your kids and encouraging meaningful conversations can be made much easier with open-ended questions. As opposed to yes or no answers, open-ended questions require kids to think deeply beyond one word answers, encouraging lengthy responses in the process. This allows parents to gain a better understanding of their children’s thoughts and feelings about any given topic. Not only that, but research has shown that asking open-ended questions gives kids the opportunity to increase their problem solving skills by figuring out solutions on their own. Get the conversation started today by asking your kids interesting, thought-provoking questions!
Be patient and listen attentively to what they have to say
A great way to get kids talking about their day and how it went is to be patient and remain attentive while they do. It can sometimes feel like pulling teeth to get conversations out of young ones, but reminders that you are ready to listen whenever they are ready to talk can go a long way. Listening attentively with an open ear sends the message that what they have to say is important, which encourages them to open up more often, making for stimulating conversations. Showing them how important their words are is key to getting them to speak up in the first place!
Follow up with more questions to show you’re interested in their lives
If you want to get your kids to open up and talk more about their day, try using follow-up questions. This lets them know that you are interested in hearing how their little lives are going and encourages them to keep talking. Ask how their friends are doing, how the food was at lunch, how school activities went, or how the pet looked after a vet visit. Just allowing your kids to share how their day went with you will help build up the trust between the two of you and spark more conversations.
Avoid interrupting them or changing the subject
One of the best ways to get kids to open up about how their day was is to simply listen. Avoid interrupting them or changing the subject, and let them discuss how they are feeling. Instead of asking how their day went, ensure they feel comfortable talking by asking more open ended and detailed questions like “What did you do today that was fun?” or “What was something interesting you learned in school?”. This will make them feel less pressured to give an answer and eventually lead to a natural conversation where you can really glean how they’re doing.
Asking leading questions is a great way to get kids to open up about their day. You can also try to be patient and wait for them to share on their own. Modeling sharing behavior is also important. Try not to interrogate your child about their day, but instead have conversations with them that show you’re interested in what they have to say. With a little patience and understanding, you’ll soon be hearing all about your child’s day-to-day activities.