This afternoon, like any other school day, parents across Australia will be asking their kids: “How was your day?”
It would be a safe bet to assume the response will be … “good”.
Educational consultant, Prudence Reid, says parents wish they could get more conversation but they don’t really know how to get there.
The Sydney-based qualified primary school teacher and mother of four has given Mamamia a bunch of alternative open-ended questions to ask.
- Who had a cool lunch today? What was in it?
- Who talked the most in the class today? Did the teacher mind?
- Did anybody fall over at school today?
- What did you today in class that you enjoyed the most?
- What did you do that you didn’t like doing? Then follow-up with why? Get children thinking and learning about their own interests.
- If you were the teacher how would you run the class and what subject would you start the day with and why?
- Which teacher do you like in the school?
- Which teacher in the school don’t you know but would like to have?
- Are there any mean kids in the school or class? Why are they mean?*
- Whose drawing hanging up do you like? And why do you like that one the most?*
- Did you make anything today at school or draw something? What did you use to do this?
- What games are there in your classroom?
- What does your teacher look like?
- Did anybody get caught picking their nose?*
- Does your teacher remind you of somebody?
- Who do you like to work with?
- Which rule was hard to stick to today?
- Did anybody get in big trouble today?
- Who is the quietest class worker?
- Is there somebody special in your class that you really like?
- What colour shoes did your teacher have on today?
- Did somebody try a new hairdo?
- Does anybody have a nickname in the class?
- What game are you doing in your computer session?
- Did you sing any new songs today? Can you teach me how to sing it?
- Did you do something today you wish you hadn’t?
“Language is so powerful and often not valued enough in day to day activities,” says Reid.
“Every little word is a clue. Kids are like animals they are taking it in without knowing,” she added.
The Sydneysider advises not to focus too much on negative stuff.
“Just a few of these questions once or twice a week is plenty. A bit like a self-check. The world is real and skills to improve self-awareness are very valuable,” she added.
The educational consultant, who helps build confidence in adults and children, says parents need to choose words carefully to convey an interest in a child’s wellbeing.
For example, if you ask the question about mean kids and leave out “to you” the child’s thinking may consider more situations that he may have witnessed rather than a self-focus.