communicating with kids

Talking to kids to get more than a one word response

After some years of kids hopping in the car or walking in the door after school, I have become more adept at working out how to get information out of them. Asking our children “How was your day?” invariable gets a “good”, “OK”, “fine” or even just a grunt. There are 2 pieces of advice I have if you want to get a little more conversation out of your kids and discover a few more details of what their day actually entailed.

1) Don’t expect an outpouring of information straight away. This is particularly the case for older kids. After a long day at school I now know it is best to let them have some space, grab something to eat, chill out in their room or in front of the TV or do whatever they need to do to unwind before firing any probing questions. If you go all guns blazing as soon as they walk in, you are usually poorly rewarded.

2) Don’t ask questions that can only give you a “Good”, “OK”, “fine” or grunt. Well actually, they can really grunt at anything if they want, but asking questions that are more open ended and little bit different, usually results in extra detail and ultimately a better understanding of their day, their challenges and their triumphs.

Here area few examples of questions to help you get more than that one word response…..
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This Post Has 17 Comments

    1. Thanks V, I look forward to hearing!

  1. Love this, some great prompts. Thank you x

    1. Thanks Carla, glad you enjoyed 🙂

  2. I love these Martine. I asked my youngest if he could be flown to outer space, which friend would he take with him. His answer went on forever (and I won’t bore you here) but he was talking up a storm.

    1. Thats very cute Natalie!

    1. Oh yes Bec I have had that problem too….but I think it is always better that way than the other!

  3. Great tips. I notice even with the younger kids that straight away after school they’re not ready to start talking about their day just yet. It usually happens later once their tummies are full again and they’re simultaneously bouncing on the trampoline, singing, and then shouting for your attention 🙂

    1. Yes I agree Hope, it is like they need to talk on their own terms, but it is really just a bit of winding down and filling up of the tummies!

  4. What a great idea! Even at 4, we get the response of I don’t know to what you did at preschool today! Will give your suggestions a go!

    1. Thanks Stephanie, would love to hear if you get any more details!

  5. Martine – what fabulous ideas!! My kids are older now – twin boys aged 22 and a daughter aged 19. However, one of my twins is a one worder and a grunter! I will use some of your suggestions (altered a bit for University rather than school) and see if I can get more of a conversation out of him! 🙂

    1. Great Min, love to hear if it works!

  6. I’ve got wise at asking specific questions, eg who was there, who was away etc and this often prompts her to say random things that happen during her day!

    1. YEs definitely being more specific always helps Em.

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