At the end of the day, parents want to know what their child’s day was like. This is a perfectly natural feeling and request but the standard question of “How was your day?” often gets met with a one-word response, blank stare, bewilderment or even hostility. Instead of asking the typical expected question, here’s a new strategy. Ask a question that is more thought-provoking and one that starts a conversation instead of ending it. A question about the social, emotional and/or intergroup dynamics that go on in school may be closer to what’s on their mind. And it may receive a better response and lead to an engaging discussion. It also conveys the message that you value these topics.
Below is a list of possible questions. Be sure to ask follow-up questions, listen without judgment and share your own experiences and insights where appropriate.
- Did you see anyone be a friend to someone when they needed it?
- Did you notice any mean or insulting behavior at recess?
- Do you think your classroom rules are fair or unfair?
- Was anyone disrespected in class today?
- Did you learn anything new today about a group of people different from you?
- Did you read a book or story that made you rethink your ideas about someone or a group of people?
- How was an aspect of your identity affirmed in school today?
- Did you see any adults being role models in treating others with respect?
- Did you feel like you belonged?
- Did anything happen today that seemed unfair?
- Who did you feel most connected to at school today and why?
- How did you help someone today? How did someone help you?
- Did you notice anything today that may be a problem for kids with disabilities?
- Did you see a teacher stop bias or bullying?
- Did you have a say about what happened at school today?
- Was anyone talking or gossiping today about mean behavior online?
- Did you see an adult do or say something to a student that might have embarrassed them?
- Did you feel excluded today?
- Did you hear anyone say something anti-gay or anti-Semitic?
- Were there any special assemblies or celebrations today and how did it include everyone, or not?
- Did anyone stand up to bullying today?
- Did you learn about activism or standing up for something today?
- Did you see anything offensive on the walls or bulletin boards?
- Who in your class is the most different from you? Do you think you two have anything in common?
- If you could sum up your day with one emoji, what would it be?