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After School Questions:

What are good questions and why are they important?

Are you one of the minority of parents who feel that they know what goes on during their child’s day at school? Do you ask endless after school questions but just get a few grunts? How do you know if you have asked the right questions?

In a survey 19% of you feel that you do, however that leaves a staggering 81% of parents completely clueless. As a teacher I hear parents ask their children “how was your day?” Normally the response is “fine” or maybe “okay”. Now as a parent I find myself falling into the same trap. I often feel that this general question is too vague especially for my child who is currently at nursery.

However, as adults it is a common question we ask and expect a detailed answer to. Two-way conversions are a good way to build and develop healthy relationships with friends, family members and colleagues. Therefore, it is vital that we teach these conversational skills to our children and encourage them to reflect. As well as honestly share how their day was, as well as talking to them about ours.

Furthermore, with mental health concerns often in the news or in the forefront of our minds we should be encouraging children to have an open and honest relationship with us and we should be ready to listen and respond.

What to Ask?

To help all parents develop a better understanding of their child’s school life we have suggested 10 questions to ask instead of ‘how was your day?’

The Questions:

  1. What lesson did you like best at school today? Why?
  2. What part of the day did you enjoy most? What made it so good?
  3. Tell me three times you used your pencil/pen today?
  4. Did anyone help you today, who? Or did you help anyone, who and what with?
  5. Tell me something that made you laugh?
  6. Who would you most like to be friends with? Why?
  7. Did anything surprise you today?
  8. Who did you play with at lunchtime? What was the game?
  9. Tell me a fact or skill that you learnt or improved on while at school?
  10. What challenged you today?

 

How to respond to your child’s answers?

It is easy to say “that is nice” or “how exciting you loved fractions today” but what should you say next? Do you just move on to another question or try to build on their response? To build connections and the skill of conversation you should respond with another question or chat further about something they said. You could say:

  1. Why did you love fractions?
  2. What part of fractions were you learning about?
  3. Can you teach me how to add fractions?
  4. I always enjoyed/found fractions hard, what tips could you give me?

Today children don’t always listen to others and are fixed on what they are doing, taking the time to talk about their day or something that they are worried about or proud of, will help reinforce the skill of conversation.

What’s next?

These suggestions are a great starting point to asking your child about their day. It is important to ask different questions over the week but remember to ask these more than once, everyday may bring a different and surprisingly interesting answer.

It is also important to remember that no child is suddenly able to develop a new skill or be able to answer or ask questions of others. It is something we learn and develop as time goes on. Therefore, start small and don’t pressure them to expand too early but slowly build up the level of detail or questions over time. This vital skill, if learnt well, can help us for the rest of our lives.

If you have any mental health concerns, then please speak to your child’s school and keep a record of any conversations of concern. There are more mental health questions here.

Growing Young Minds love asking questions and believe that critical thinking and Thunks are a great way to engage children in learning. If you would like to learn more about our lessons or book an initial call, please get in touch – Contact us.

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