10 Things You Can Ask Instead of “How was your day?”


It is hard to be away from your child. So, as soon as you are reunited you are naturally eager to hear all about their day! Many of us get stuck in the “How was your day?” “Fine” cycle. While well-intentioned, that question does not usually elicit much information. So let’s break the mold and take question asking to the next level! Here are a few ideas.

  1. Ask your caregiver for a specific topic. This could be something they talked about, explored, drew, or saw. SEEC teachers post daily “ask me about…” topics in every room so that parents can ask or speak with their child about a specific topic. This allows the parent to ask a question that goes beyond the one word response. It also helps to remind the child of exactly what they did that day. 3
  2. Who did you Play with? Building relationships and socializing are very important to your young child and navigating those relationships is a key part of their day. They will be anxious to share!
  3. What was the best thing that happened today? Why? Children often work in extremes. Something is a favorite one minute and terrible the next. You may hear something unexpected and surprising!
  4. What was the worst thing that happened? Why? This question also plays to children’s tendency to work in extremes. However, the response to this question may also be something seemingly minimal (for example, not getting to play with the toy they wanted or peas for lunch) but it can tell you a great deal about your child’s particular preferences and ultimately parts of their day.
  5. What was something that happened that was different than yesterday? Time is a tricky concept for young children. This question asks your child to categorize an activity as later in the past and more recently in the past. It also asks them to separate events from one day to the next and be observant of changes whether they were big or small.
  6. What did you play with today? Where did you spend most of your time playing? Play is work for a child. Through play, children are designing experiments and acting out scenarios that they can later use as data. Asking about their play is the same as asking your partner, significant other, friend, etc. about their job.
  7. What was something funny that happened today? By the end of the day we can all use a little humor! Also, for your child to communicate the funny moment, they will most likely need to set the scene and describe the cast of characters.1
  8. What song did you sing today? Can you teach me? Children love music and the chance to play the teacher role. This is a great way to not only hear about their day, but also participate in a part of the day that you might have missed.
  9. What did you learn today? This will look different for a young child. Instead of their answer being academic, it might be a social, emotional, or physical activity.
  10. What did you eat? People often associate memories with food. Asking what your child ate will not only help you get a sense of their day, but might teach you more about their particular preferences making meal planning a bit easier.

There are so many great questions out there! Have one that works well to get your child chatting? Please share!