What really happened in school today?

Contributed by Jody McVittie, MD

Do you find yourself having one-sided conversations with your student?
“How was school?”
“What did you learn?”
Would you like to try something different?  Here are a couple of strategies that have worked for other parents:

  1. Wait to learn about your student’s day until he or she has settled down and had a little time away from school.
  2. Invite your student to ask you about your day before you ask question about his or hers.
  3. Some families use dinnertime or tuck-in time to learn about each other’s day.  This works best when adults also share of themselves.  You might start with one of these questions and be willing to go first to answer.  You might find that they can be conversation starters:

“What was one thing that made you curious today?”
“What was your favorite part of the day and your least favorite?”
“What was something that let you have a new point of view about something today?”
“What was something that made you laugh today?”
“What was something that happened today that let you know that you are loved or that someone cares about you”
“What was something that you did today to let someone else know you care about them?”
“What was something that challenged you today?”
“What was something that you taught someone else today?”
“What was a compliment that you gave to someone else today?”
“What was something that made you happy today?  Something that made you sad?”

You could put these on cards and have the young people in your family choose which question to start your meal or tuck in time with.  You could have them brainstorm other questions that would be fun for everyone to answer as well.


Jody McVittie, MD is the executive director of Sound Discipline.  She is also an ICF certified coach and a lead trainer for the Positive Discipline Association.