In order to connect with our kids, we need to be sure we’re asking great questions. It’s easy for us to get frustrated when we communicate with our kids, because they give us one-word answers or just grunt. One of the worst questions we can ask our kids is, “How was your day?” This is a weak question, for a few reasons. If you’ve said “How do I ask my kids better questions?” then this post is for you.
First, it’s way too easy for them to dismiss the question by simply saying “fine”. That’s the typical answer. Occasionally, we might get more if something notable happened at school or church. However, if we don’t take a genuine interest in their answer, they are likely to revert back to “fine”.
Second, when we ask the “How was your day?” question it can seem hollow. Do you really want to know how their day was or are you simply asking because it’s part of your routine? I have fallen into this trap many times and have to fight against it.
I would ask my kids as we sat down for dinner, “How was your day?”, because I was hungry and ready to eat, not because I was looking for stimulating conversation. I just wanted to stimulate my stomach. Thankfully (through great experience!), I have learned some better techniques! I have learned to ask better questions. You can not only learn to communicate better with your kids, you can learn to be a godly dad.
Numbers can help.
For example, instead of saying “How was your day?”, you might say, “Tell me the top three things that happened today.” Or you could say, “Tell me five fun things you did today.” These types of questions and statements trigger a different part of your children’s brains. Numbers questions require thought. Your kids need to think about their day and process their answer.
Be prepared. As they answer these questions, if you’re actively listening, you can always ask solid follow-up questions. This shows you are paying attention and invested in them. How about another technique I’ve picked up over the years.
“…if you’re actively listening, you can always ask solid follow-up questions.”
Play the extremes.
You can ask, “What was the best and worst thing you saw today?” It doesn’t have to be things they did directly. It could be the best and worst thing they ate that day or game they played or conversation they had. When you play