A conversation to debrief seems like such a great end to the school day. And yet! When I picked my son up from his first day of 4th grade, my usual (enthusiastically delivered) question of “how was your day?” was met with his usual (indifferently delivered) “fine.” Come on! It’s the first day, for crying out loud! Give me something to work with, would you, kid?
The second day, my same question was answered, “well, no one was a jerk.” That’s good...I guess. I suppose the problem is my own. That question actually sucks. Far from a conversation starter, it’s uninspired, overwhelmingly open ended, and frankly, completely boring. So as an alternative, I’ve compiled a list of questions that my kid will answer with more than a single word or grunt.
In fact, he debated his response to question 8 for at least half an hour over the weekend. The jury’s out until he can organize a foot race.
To get some conversation started even - or especially - when it feels like pulling teeth, here are some questions a kid will answer at the end of a long school day:
What did you eat for lunch?
Did you catch anyone picking their nose?
What games did you play at recess?
What was the funniest thing that happened today?
Did anyone do anything super nice for you?
What was the nicest thing you did for someone else?
Who made you smile today?
Which one of your teachers would survive a zombie apocalypse? Why?
What new fact did you learn today?
Who brought the best food in their lunch today? What was it?
What challenged you today?
If school were a ride at the fair, which ride would it be? Why?
What would you rate your day on a scale of 1 to 10? Why?
If one of your classmates could be the teacher for the day who would you want it to be? Why?
If you had the chance to be the teacher tomorrow, what would you teach the class?
Did anyone push your buttons today?
Who do you want to make friends with but haven’t yet? Why not?
What is your teacher’s most important rule?
What is the most popular thing to do at recess?
Does your teacher remind you of anyone else you know? How?
Tell me something you learned about a friend today.
If aliens came to school and beamed up 3 kids, who do you wish they would take? Why?
What is one thing you did today that was helpful?
When did you feel most proud of yourself today?
What rule was the hardest to follow today?
What is one thing you hope to learn before the school year is over?
Which person in your class is your exact opposite?
Which area of your school is the most fun?
Which playground skill do you plan to master this year?
Does anyone in your class have a hard time following the rules?
It’s the New Year, and I have been doing a lot of thinking. I want to say, with all of my heart and all of my soul, that I am sorry. I want apologize for anything (and everything) I have said or done that made you feel less-than or sad or small.
This year I am resolving, with a twist. There will be no diet, exercise, less swearing and drinking, "more church" kind of resolutions. This year I'm simply letting go of the things that are just not productive nor conducive to my life. This is the year I give up several of my hard-earned mom-related titles.
Surround yourself and your kids with piles of magazines and update vision boards for the fresh, new year to come. If nothing else came from this evening together, we exercised our creativity and bonded while reenacting some of the over-the-top advertisements we came across.