At the end of the day, parents want to know about their child’s day. This is a perfectly reasonable request but the standard question of “how was your day?” often gets met with a one-word response, blank stare or even hostility. Here’s a different strategy: ask a question that is more thought-provoking and one that starts a conversation instead of ending it. Or, ask a question about the social and emotional dynamics that happen in school that may be closer to what’s on their mind. This also conveys the message that you value these topics.
Below is a suggested list of 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?
- Did you learn anything new 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?
- Was there a time when you felt really good about an aspect of your identity?
- Did you see any adults being role models in treating others with respect?
- Did you feel like you belonged?
- Did anything happen that seemed unfair?
- Who did you feel most connected to at school and why?
- How did you help someone? How did someone help you?
- Did you notice anything that may be a problem for kids with disabilities?
- Did you see a teacher stop bias or bullying?
- Did you have a say about something important to you?
- Was anyone talking or gossiping about mean behavior they saw online?
- Did you see an adult do or say something to a student that might have embarrassed them?
- Did you feel excluded?
- Did you hear any stereotypes and if so, what?
- Were there any special assemblies or celebrations and did it include everyone?
- Did anyone stand up to bullying?
- Did you learn about activism or taking a stand for something?
- 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?