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

Books about friendship

10 Books about friendship - tinystepsmakebigstrides.com

School is now in full swing here in Australia.  This year we have seen lots of changes in our home as everyone now goes to a new school.  One of the biggest challenges we face as parents is helping our kids navigate the path of life.  We are again the new face in the hall!  Here is our pick of the best books about friendship – the highs, the lows and everything in between. Continue reading

Playful Ways With Numbers

Playful ways with numbers - tinystepsmakebigstrides.com

Number games are a great way to practice using and manipulating numbers.  Once your kids can recognise 0-10, developing number sense is crucial for working with higher level problems later on. Continue reading

What Children Really Need When Starting School

It’s almost time to start school again in Australia.  If you have a child just about to start school it can be an anxious time for children and parents. I remember Mr. J starting school so vividly and he will be going into his last year of primary school this year.  As a teacher, who has settled lots of parents on their child’s first day of school I felt like I should be all calm and in control.  Obviously, I wasn’t and the feeling of letting go – does fill you with that juxtaposition feeling of elated that your child has reached this milestone but oh, so sad that they are leaving you to join the big wide world.  Two children later and we will be going into years 2, 3 and 6 this year.

Continue reading