50 Questions to Ask Kids Instead of “How Was Your Day”?


My 12 year old is excellent at telling me about her day. All I have to do is smile at her as she gets into the car, and I’ve got a blow-by-blow play of her entire day. Complete with role playing, funny voices and editorialising. It’s exhausting but adorable.

My 6 year old son is the polar opposite. If I asked him how his day was, all I’d get was a shrug of the shoulders, and a “fine”. Sometimes, if I was feeling ambitious, I might follow it up with a “what did you do today?” And of course the answer would generally be, “can’t remember.”

That is, until I decided to stop asking “how was your day?” It’s such an autopilot question, really, isn’t it? And I think kids can sense that. It’s the same as “how are you?” “Fine.” Nobody is actually engaging or actively thinking about the conversation.

So I decided to start asking different questions to see what the responses would be like. And although I expected an improvement, I wasn’t prepared for just how different our post-school conversations would be.

My daughter still needs no extra incentive to speak, but she’s still thrilled if I ask her something specific. It shows that I’m really paying attention, and the reward I get from all my kids is genuine engagement. We all love it.

If you’d like to try this approach out for yourself, here are 50 questions you can try asking instead of “how was your day?” Of course, you’ll be able to think of loads more once you get warmed up.

  1. What made you laugh today?
  2. Can you tell me about a time when you were kind to someone today?
  3. Were you or anyone you know unkind today? What happened?
  4. Does everyone in your class have a friend at lunchtime?
  5. What book did your teacher read to you today?
  6. What’s the word/book of the week?
  7. Did anyone make you laugh today?
  8. Did anyone cry today?
  9. What did you do that was creative?
  10. What’s the most popular activity at lunchtime?
  11. What is the best thing that happened in your day?
  12. Did you help anyone today?
  13. Did you say “thank you” to anyone today?
  14. Who did you have lunch with?
  15. What made you laugh?
  16. Did your teacher say anything you didn’t understand?
  17. Who inspired you today?
  18. What was the high and the low point of your day?
  19. What was your least favourite part of the day?
  20. Was anyone away today?
  21. Did you feel unsafe at any time?
  22. Did you learn anything that surprised you today?
  23. What’s something that happened that made you think?
  24. What do you know today that you didn’t know yesterday?
  25. What did you find challenging today?
  26. How did someone fill your bucket today?
  27. How did you fill someone else’s bucket?
  28. What did you like in your lunch? Anything you didn’t like?
  29. How would you rate your day from 1 to 10?
  30. Did anyone get into trouble today? 
  31. How were you brave today?
  32. What questions did you ask in class today?
  33. What are you looking forward to tomorrow?
  34. What are you reading?
  35. What was the hardest rule to follow today?
  36. Teach me something I don’t already know.
  37. If you could change something about your day, what would it be?
  38. Is there anything on your mind you’d like to talk about?
  39. What made your teacher smile today?
  40. What made your teacher cross?
  41. How would you describe the sort of person you were today?
  42. What made you feel happy?
  43. What made you feel loved?
  44. What made you feel proud?
  45. What made you feel worried?
  46. What would you like to achieve at school before the holidays?
  47. If you could swap desks with someone at school, who would you choose and why?
  48. What is your favourite area at school?
  49. If you could be the teacher for a day, what would you teach everyone?
  50. If you were the principal for a day, what rules would you make?



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