Breaking News
More () »

Mrs. Brinker: Getting kids to talk about their school day

13News Education Expert Jennifer Brinker shared some strategies to help your kids open up about their day at school.

GREENWOOD, Ind. — School is back in session for Indiana students and many parents are anxiously awaiting to hear all about their child’s day at school. But for some parents, when they ask “how was your day?” they are met with a simple “fine.”

WTHR Education Expert Jennifer Brinker from Greenwood Middle School shared advice on getting your child talking and sharing about school.

Matthew Fultz - WTHR: So Mrs. Brinker, how do parents start off a conversation with their kids about how their day went?

Mrs. Brinker: I think one of the most important things that we have to do before that question is even asked is to build in time to be an active listener. We have all been there before; someone asks you a question and when you start to answer, they get distracted and aren’t listening. It is very frustrating. So if you are asking them in the car while you are trying to listen to multiple kids at once, and then take a phone call during, you get the idea. They will be less likely to share anything at all. Time has to be structured so that you can be actively listening.

Matthew Fultz: So, say you have that time built in and are engaged. What kinds of questions should parents ask?

Mrs. Brinker: Well, if you throw out a question that can be answered in one word, that might be all you get. So instead of just, “How was your day?”/"fine" or “Did you have a good day?”/"yes", it is better to ask specific questions like, “What was the best thing about school today?” or “What was one thing that made you smile today?”

Matthew Fultz: One thing that many parents worry about is how their child is doing socially. What is the best way to check in on this?

Mrs. Brinker: I would refrain from asking, “Do you have any friends?” That question, honestly, has a lot wrong with it. Instead try, “Who did you sit with at lunch today?” or “What did you do during recess today?” If all else fails, feel free to reach out to your child’s teacher to find out more about social wellness.

Matthew Fultz: Are there any more questions you can think to ask at the beginning of the year?

Mrs. Brinker: Absolutely. I would suggest asking “What is the biggest difference between last year and this year?” I would also suggest keeping conversations positive by asking what your child is excited for or what subject they think they will like the best. Instead of asking “Is your teacher nice?” I would ask what they like best about their teacher. 

You don’t want to implant negative ideas in their heads about their teacher. School works best when students are excited to learn and view it as a great place to be.

Additional questions to ask students

  • What was the best thing you did at school today?
  • Who did you sit with at lunch or play with at recess?
  • Who did you like talking to the most today?
  • What was the hardest thing you had to do today?
  • What is the most interesting thing your teacher said today?
  • What made you smile the biggest today?
  • Which subject are you feeling the most comfortable with?
  • Are there any classes you think that you might need some extra help with this year?
  • Can you show me something you learned today?
  • What is the biggest difference between last year and this year?
  • What book are you reading at school right now?

Before You Leave, Check This Out