A better way to ask How was your day? Open ended questions to fuel conversation

open ended questions for after school chats - tinystepsmakebigstrides.com

How often do your kids just say yes, no, fine or OK when you ask about their day after school? Yes that happens to me too.  I want to find out about their day, the fun they have had, all the learning that has happened also the struggles and the challenges that go with the day also.  And so…I ask HOW WAS YOUR DAY?  I get a mixed response of ok…it was good…and even yes good, with no information at all.

The type of questions can have a big effect on conversation.  Instead of starting a conversation with open words I am actually shutting down the very conversation I want with a closed question.  If I ask a question that can give a one word /short answer, then after a tiring day at school, that is probably what I are going to get.

Sometimes getting kids to talk after a busy day at school can be tough – actually down right impossible! As kids get older they are more likely to feel embarrassed, nervous and even secretive, which are all normal, yet it is good to talk and share the day together.

Try asking open ended questions.

Open ended questions have more than one answer, there is no right answer.   Open ended questions involve kids in the conversation and grows cooperation and a sense of belonging. Questions like these will also encourage your kids to:

  • Think beyond the obvious
  • Develop their creative thinking
  • Develop language skills
  • Increase their understanding of the world around them
  • Challenge their thinking
  • Foster critical thinking
  • Make predictions

so don’t be surprised if they need some thinking time and don’t answer immediately.

Try starting your questions with –

  • Tell me about….
  • I am wondering…
  • What do you think…
  • How do you know…
  • What would…
  • What could you do to…

In this fast paced world we are all guilty of the uh-huh response or a nod.  Afternoon tea is normally a time to chat in our home —  of course, the favourite time to talk is normally 8pm when lights should be going out!

Try following up with –

  • Oh, why…
  • Tell me more…
  • How do you know that…
  • Thanks for sharing…

Grab your printable open ended questions cards for after school chatting here.

Of course closed questions have a place.  Combining questions can expand a conversation, support your child with their language skills and help to develop deeper relationships.


Happy chatting  x

How Do You Prepare For NAPLAN? Part 2 -Language Conventions

Punctuation Saves Lives

Punctuation Saves Lives!  From Punctuation Mark by Belinda Ellis

The Language Conventions test is probably the hardest to learn without direct instruction.  Direct instruction does not have to come from worksheets. Children can learn far more from fluid conversations and discussion with modelling of concepts.  The mechanics of language are learned overtime and there is a tendency to push this earlier and earlier. All this knowledge will come with time, practice and experience.  These conventions are not in oral language and so have to be consciously learned.  Rote learning will not concrete any concepts. It is only in the concrete that children can then adapt and process this knowledge to use it further. Continue reading

How Do You Prepare For NAPLAN? Part 1 – Reading

NAPLAN jingle

A jingle we use to calm the nerves

Love it or hate it the standardized test is here to stay, at least for a while yet!  There is no doubt that many schools now teach to the test and this is a sad state of affairs but who can blame them? We live in a world of statistics and tables and everybody is running for first place. Continue reading

Books That Encourage Conversation With Your Kids

Depression - let's talk about it

Let’s talk about it!

The World Health day campaign this year is called Depression -Let’s talk about it! Depression affects people of all ages and it doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from.  Depression is now the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year old according to the World Health Organisation.  Yet, the sad thing is that depression can be prevented and is treatable. Continue reading