Getting Children to Talk About Their Day at School

By: Shari Harpaz, CCC-SLP (Speech-Language Pathologist)

Ever ask your child, “what did you do at school today?” and get the response, “nothing?”. Rest assured, you are not alone!

Parents often complain that they can’t get their children to tell them much about their day at school. A child’s response to “How was school today?” typically consists of “great!” (often followed by a grunt or sigh). I’m sure a as a parent you can be frustrated with the lack of response, so here are some tips to help you get more valuable information and better details.

1. Simplify the topic. Asking about an entire school day may be difficult for a child to reflect on. However, if you ask about a particular time of day (i.e. “what did you do before lunch that you enjoyed?” or ” what did you learn during circle time? Work time?”) it helps them focus and come up with a more detailed answer. It’s a good idea to ask the teachers what ‘lingo’ they use so it is consistent (i.e. meeting time vs. circle time; work time vs. centers)

2. Ask specific questions that relate to another child in the class. For example: “Did you and Jon play today? What did you do together?” This gives them an additional context to relate to.

3. For younger children, you can ask them to draw a picture about their favorite activity at school and then have them tell you a sentence about it. You can turn this into a little book ‘About School’ that you can share with the whole family.

Other ways to build storytelling: Use these same ideas to talk about other special activities (day at the zoo, trip to the museum, vacation). It’s a great way to start building story-telling/narrative skills and to help share experiences together with your child.

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