How Do I Get My Child to Talk About Their Day?

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How Do I Get My Child to Talk About Their Day?

Parents ask us all the time how to get more information from kids. Here are some of our tried and tested tips to get kids to open up and talk.

When I went to my daughter’s kindergarten’s back to school night many parents wanted to know “How Do I Get My Child to Talk About Their Day?”. The teacher, who was very experienced, explained that it may be difficult to get a lot of information out of your child. She went on to explain that children live in the present. Most of the time, as soon as an event has passed they have moved on to what they are doing in the present. To them what happened is either irrelevant or forgotten until it happens again. But we want to know what happened. Not only are we curious, we also know that there are many teachable moments that can be created through conversations.

How to get Children to Talk about their Day
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Have you ever had a conversation like this with your kid?

“How was school today?”

“Fine.”

“What did you do?”

“Stuff.”

“Did you play with a friend at recess?”

“Uh-huh.”

If this type of conversation doesn’t fill your heart with joy, you may want to pry more information out of the young one.

Some of the ways that we encourage children to talk about their day:

  1. Most of us want to start talking about the day as soon as we pick up our kids. Some kids need more time. Consider waiting and then do something active like going for a walk or playing basketball while you talk with your child.
  2. Try asking very specific questions like “What book did your teacher read at circle time?” or “Who did you play with during morning recess?”.
  3. Go through the day chronologically. This works really well for children who like order and structure.
  4. My sister used to ask “What was the high and the low of the day?”
  5. Try “Pizza Topping Topics”. The way this goes is you have a slice of pizza and it needs toppings but you want to top it with experiences. To have a delicious pizza you need to top it with three things that happened that day.
  6. Some wise parents take advantage of their child stalling bedtime. They pad in a little extra time and as the child is stalling they ask questions. Since the child wants to stall they are more motivated to talk.
  7. For some children, I give them an assignment of the day. I ask them to observe the other kids and tell me about someone who was really excited, or friendly or sad, etc.
  8. Have the kids draw about their day.
  9. Tell a story about something that happened to you as a child. If you are trying to get information about their school day, tell a story about when you were in school. (It can be real or imagined.) Change your story to fit the situation that you want to hear about.How Do I Get My Child to Talk About Their Day
  10. When I am working with children who have a difficult time recounting events I use worksheets: What I Did This Week and Uphill & Downhill Conversation Starter and What I Feel.

What, Why and When Feelings Worksheet-page-001

More resources to help you to get your child to open up and discuss their day:

25 Ways to Ask Your Kids ‘So How Was School Today?’ Without Asking Them ‘So How Was School Today?’

The Family Dinner Project Conversation Starters

Tips to Get Your Child to Talk About Her School Day

Check out The Twinkle Diaries for more parenting tips!

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24 Comments




  1. We started really working on this last year with my son. I was sooo sick of the “fine” answer… The more specific questions lead to the more specific answers. I try to only ask how was your day type questions when I Truly have the time to sit down and listen and have a conversation with him about it. It is easy to blurt out how was your day, but if you are distracted while asking are you really engaging them for a Real answer… Great post lots of great resources to open the lines of communication!!

    Reply

    1. You are so right about being distracted when asking an open ended question. It is also important to make time and space to really engage with your child.

      Reply

  2. What a great post! I love the tips you’ve given. I remember vividly being asked, by my mom, what I’d done at school and I could never be bothered to think back and give a well rounded answer!! It’s so true that children live in the present. I was far too interested in what I was doing, than to think back to earlier that day. Thanks so much for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday x

    PS — Please could you display our badge — or link back to one of the hosts next time? Thanks so much x

    Reply

    1. Absolutely, we will link back to you!

      Reply

  3. This is really interesting with some great tips. I work as a teacher and our younger children sometimes go home with a sticker on saying ‘ask me what I did today’. We make sure that they should know to answer and I think it works quite well as a conversation starter. #twinklytuesdays

    Reply

    1. The sticker is a great way to remind the kids and their parents with a conversation starter!

      Reply


  4. my daughter is 6 at the moment and i can’t stop her chatting….she keeps going on and on tells me every single thing she done. it is nice although sometimes annoying 🙂 i do hope that she will never stop do it though.
    great advice though. thank you for linking up with the #pinitparty

    Reply

    1. It sounds like your daughter is verbal. That will be quite useful in life. 🙂

      Reply

  5. These are awesome tips! Although my little ones are still too young to REALLY engage in conversation about their day (and most of it is spent with me anyway), these are great to remember for a year or two down the road :).

    Reply

    1. Thanks, you sound like you are a very well prepared mom!

      Reply

  6. These are great tips!! Thank you! I was wondering if it was because they live in the moment, that makes so much sense. Recently I started asking my daughter about her day during bedtime, because as you said, they like to stall…So they’re more likely to talk.

    Reply

    1. I am forever grateful to that teacher for explaining it so well.

      Reply

  7. These are great! My son is such a non talker. He usually says that he doesn’t remember. Sometimes, as the evening wears on he will tell me more. Or other, more random times, a ton of stuff comes out that I had no idea about. I try to get him to tell me three things that he liked about his day, and sometimes, that really helps. Usually, it ends up just being two things he really liked about his day, because “recess” is almost always an answer. 🙂

    Reply

    1. Thanks, Ashley! My daughter is the same. But the kids that I work with really drive their parents crazy with their non-answers so I had to come up with a variety of ways to pry the information out.

      Reply

  8. GMA actually just did a similar segment on this. I really try to help my 2 year old remember things that happened yesterday so that she learns to ‘remember’ things so she can tell others. Right now it is actually fun or funny things but I know once they get to school that some days just aren’t as fun! Thanks for sharing this info!!

    Reply

    1. It sounds like your daughter has a great start. She is sure to be an expert conversationalist!

      Reply

  9. I really like this list. My favorite point was to give your child an assignment to observe something interesting each day or give an account. It reminds me of Dr. Seuss’ What I Saw on Mulberry Street book.

    Happy Linking Up!

    Reply

    1. Thanks, Lindsey. We weren’t thinking about What I saw on Mulberry Street but it is a perfect companion book for this topic!

      Reply

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