Questions to ask kids instead of "How was school?"

Questions to ask kids instead of how was school

Is it just us or do conversations with kids after school seem to get shorter as the kids get older?

For instance, if we ask a school-aged kid "How was school?" we can probably predict their answer will be one word, right? It might be "Good", or "Fine". If we're lucky, we might even get a whole phrase, such as "It was okay". Conversation stopper!

We can make after-school conversations more creative and interesting by asking open-ended questions. Open-ended questions can't be answered with a single word because they are designed to encourage full, meaningful answers with opinions. 

Open-ended questions prompt kids to think. They generate longer responses, which provide more insights into thoughts and feelings. 

Below are 20 open-ended questions that you can try asking kids after school instead of "How was school":

  1. What did you like the best about today?
  2. What questions did you ask at school?
  3. What face expression would you use to describe today and why?
  4. What did you draw today?
  5. What cool fact did you learn?
  6. What did you notice today that others may not have noticed?
  7. What did you create or build today?
  8. What surprised you today? 
  9. Did anything challenge you?
  10. What made you smile?
  11. Who brought in the best lunch today and what was it?
  12. What were some of the popular things to do during recess and lunch?
  13. What compliment did the teacher give you this week? 
  14. What makes your teacher smile or frown? 
  15. Did you do anything helpful today?
  16. What would you change about school to make it better tomorrow? 
  17. Are all of the school rules fair?
  18. If you could get help with anything for school, what would you choose?
  19. Who is similar to you and who is very different from you? 
  20. What do you hope to learn about soon?


Questions to ask kids after school


Kids get tired after a full day just as adults do, so if these questions don't get the conversation flowing, wait for a better moment that day. But don't wait for another day! 

Try inventing your own list of open-ended questions. Here are some prompts, simply fill in the blanks from your imagination:

  1. How would you feel if ... ?
  2. What is good about ... ?
  3. What would you change about ... ?
  4. Would you rather ... ?
  5. What causes you to feel ...?
  6. How do you decide between ... ?
  7. What would you try if you had unlimited ... ?
  8. What makes ... your favourite? 
  9. What are the awesome things in your ... ?
  10. Tomorrow, what would be the best ... ?

Another way to encourage kids to express their thoughts is with a journal. If they're not comfortable with journaling, encourage them to write down their thoughts then screw or tear up the paper, tossing it away. This helps kids to articulate freely and get better at putting their thoughts into words. 

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