What to ask you kids besides, “How was your day?”

We pick our kids up from school, from a neighbors, from after school care and we ask them, "How was your day?" They typically respond with "good", "fine", or the dreaded "I don't want to talk about it". This lighthearted conversation hits a dead end fast. We quickly move on with our day, never really getting a sense of what they did or how they felt throughout the day. Sometimes we hear about their day from others - their teachers, a friends mom, etc.- and we think, "why didn't they share that with me?"

Some minor adjustments to the way you talk to your child can make a big difference. The way you ask questions can lead to more meaningful conversations, making each day a learning experience for both of you. These conversations can also help your child build foundational social skills and help them to handle situations better.

So get rid of the old “How was your day” and give these questions a try!

“What did you notice today that made someone else happy?”

This question helps your child be mindful and think outside of themselves. Build on their response and ask “How did you know it made them happy?”, then take the dialogue from there. Pose questions that they respond to with specific names and experiences.

“Tell me about someone that you helped today."

Pay attention to how they talk about helping others. Praise for them helping others and for making good choices. Share how it would make you feel to have received help in a similar situation.

“What is something you can do tomorrow to make sure the day is good for you and others?"

Listen as your child responds to this and use some guiding examples. Over time, your child will pick up on your guiding ideas and themes and will implement them. Asking your child about how they feel when doing things for others will help them to continue to repeat mindful behavior. They will begin to understand the joy that comes along with helping others.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

After using these guiding questions, more questions will come organically. It is important to listen as your child talks. Children feel more willing to talk when they feel heard. If we can convey the message that they can share with us in a free manner, we will have better overall communication with our children, and get a good picture of how their day really was!

Written by Nicole Pierce-Risvold, MS - Family Psychotherapist

**Nicole is currently taking clients at Blooma St. Paul. Give us a call to find an appointment: (651) 340-8538