Parents usually want to have a better relationship with their children, but miss a great opportunity each school day.  They often ask the same open-ended question of their child/children/teen – “How was your day?” – getting the same bland non-answer, “Fine.”  End of discussion. Nothing learned or gained except a general expression of interest, which doesn’t go very far, the exchange staying superficial.  Instead of the usual autopilot question and answer, try asking more interesting, creative, searching questions that just might lead to a more important, meaningful, revealing, deeper exchange and relationship.  Here are 50 questions to ask instead:

  1. What made you smile or laugh today?
  2. Can you tell me an example of kindness you saw/showed? 
  3. Was there an example of unkindness? How did you respond?
  4. Do you have a friend at school? At recess?
  5. What was the book about that your teacher read?
  6. What’s the word of the week?  What does it mean?
  7. Did anyone do anything silly to make you laugh?
  8. What time would you start school if you had a choice?
  9. What did you do that was creative?
  10. What is the most popular game at recess?
  11. What was the best thing that happened today?
  12. Did you help anyone today?
  13. Did you tell anyone “thank you?”
  14. Who did you sit with at lunch?
  15. Did anyone try to bully you today or any other day?
  16. Did you learn something you didn’t understand?
  17. Who inspired you today?
  18. What was the peak and the pit?
  19. What was your least favorite part of the day?
  20. Was anyone in your class gone today?
  21. Did you ever feel unsafe?
  22. What is something you heard or learned that surprised you?
  23. What is something you saw that made you think?
  24. Who did you play with today?
  25. Tell me something you know today that you didn’t know yesterday.
  26. What is something that challenged you?
  27. How did someone fill your bucket today? Whose bucket did you fill?
  28. Did you like your lunch? What did you have?
  29. Rate your day on a scale from 1-10.  Why do you rate it that way?
  30. Did anyone get in trouble today?
  31. How were you brave today?
  32. What questions did you ask at school today?
  33. Tell us your top two things from the day (before you can be excused from the dinner table!). 
  34. What are you looking forward to tomorrow?
  35. What are you reading?
  36. What was the hardest rule to follow today?
  37. Teach me something I don’t know.
  38. If you could change one thing about your day, what would it be?
  39. (For older kids):  Do you feel prepared for your history test?” or, “Is there anything on your mind that you’d like to talk about?” (Ask and respond in a supportive way.)
  40. Who did you share your snacks with at lunch?
  41. What made your teacher smile? What made her frown?
  42. Did anything or anyone make you feel frustrated or angry?
  43. What made you feel happy today? 
  44. What made you feel proud today?
  45. What made you feel loved today?
  46. Did you learn any new words today?
  47. What do you hope to do before school is out for the year?
  48. If you could switch seats with anyone in class, who would it be? And why?
  49. What is your least favorite part of school? And favorite?
  50. If you switched places with your teacher tomorrow, what would you teach the class?