Parents urged to stop asking their kids 'how was your day?'

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By Kim Novak

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Parents have been urged to stop asking their children how their day was after picking them up from school.

For most people, the standard afterschool question would be "how was your day?", usually met with a grunt or a one-word answer while not giving it too much thought.

However, one mother has revealed why parents shouldn't pose that particular question to their kids - and what to ask them instead.

Yamel Belen, who has five children ranging from seven to 25 in age, revealed that she would always ask her kids the same question and be met with some variation of: "It was good," "fine," or: "OK."

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Parents have revealed their alternatives to "how was your day?" Credit: shapecharge/Getty Images

The dead-end questions pretty much halted the conversation from flowing, so she came up with a better way to get an insight into what was going on in her kids' lives.

She revealed on TikTok: "I really hated getting the 'It was good' response to my after school questioning! I wanted to know more, all of it... so I started digging for questions that would give me better responses."

Belen added to the New York Post: "I wanted to know everything about their lives at school and felt like I was doing something wrong [as a mother]. So, I started asking questions that would give me better responses."

She revealed that open-ended questions such as "What made you smile today" and "what acts of kindness did you see" meant that the child would have to elaborate a bit more on what had happened at school and encouraged conversation.

Belen revealed that her youngest daughters who are in the fourth and second grades respectively have embraced the new questions and are eager to share details about their day.

"Moving away from 'How was your day?' after school and asking questions that get them talking has made us extremely close," she told the publication. "Having open dialogue with the little ones now sets the foundation for [fluid] conversations about tougher topics when they become teenagers."

Psychotherapist Lesley Koeppel also echoed this view, telling The New York Post: "I always advise parents against asking 'How was your day?' because it doesn’t show that you’re truly interested in them — their likes, dislikes, decision-making, friends, teachers or strengths.

"It’s more impactful to ask questions that focus on the child’s daily processes. When we acknowledge our kids’ feelings about the things they’ve experienced by asking something like, 'What was the best part of your day?' It shows them we truly care, and that builds their self-esteem."

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Getting kids to open up can help boost their self-esteem. Credit: VioletaStoimenova/Getty Imahes

Some great alternative questions to ask to start conversation could include "What did you have for lunch today and did you like it?", "Who did something silly during recess today?", "Who did you play with on the playground?", or: "Who got in trouble today?"

Anything that doesn't elicit a simple yes/no answer is a pretty good place to start, and soon you'll know all the schoolyard tea.

Featured image credit: Betsie Van Der Meer/Getty Images

Parents urged to stop asking their kids 'how was your day?'

vt-author-image

By Kim Novak

Article saved!Article saved!

Parents have been urged to stop asking their children how their day was after picking them up from school.

For most people, the standard afterschool question would be "how was your day?", usually met with a grunt or a one-word answer while not giving it too much thought.

However, one mother has revealed why parents shouldn't pose that particular question to their kids - and what to ask them instead.

Yamel Belen, who has five children ranging from seven to 25 in age, revealed that she would always ask her kids the same question and be met with some variation of: "It was good," "fine," or: "OK."

wp-image-1263232671 size-full
Parents have revealed their alternatives to "how was your day?" Credit: shapecharge/Getty Images

The dead-end questions pretty much halted the conversation from flowing, so she came up with a better way to get an insight into what was going on in her kids' lives.

She revealed on TikTok: "I really hated getting the 'It was good' response to my after school questioning! I wanted to know more, all of it... so I started digging for questions that would give me better responses."

Belen added to the New York Post: "I wanted to know everything about their lives at school and felt like I was doing something wrong [as a mother]. So, I started asking questions that would give me better responses."

She revealed that open-ended questions such as "What made you smile today" and "what acts of kindness did you see" meant that the child would have to elaborate a bit more on what had happened at school and encouraged conversation.

Belen revealed that her youngest daughters who are in the fourth and second grades respectively have embraced the new questions and are eager to share details about their day.

"Moving away from 'How was your day?' after school and asking questions that get them talking has made us extremely close," she told the publication. "Having open dialogue with the little ones now sets the foundation for [fluid] conversations about tougher topics when they become teenagers."

Psychotherapist Lesley Koeppel also echoed this view, telling The New York Post: "I always advise parents against asking 'How was your day?' because it doesn’t show that you’re truly interested in them — their likes, dislikes, decision-making, friends, teachers or strengths.

"It’s more impactful to ask questions that focus on the child’s daily processes. When we acknowledge our kids’ feelings about the things they’ve experienced by asking something like, 'What was the best part of your day?' It shows them we truly care, and that builds their self-esteem."

wp-image-1263232679 size-full
Getting kids to open up can help boost their self-esteem. Credit: VioletaStoimenova/Getty Imahes

Some great alternative questions to ask to start conversation could include "What did you have for lunch today and did you like it?", "Who did something silly during recess today?", "Who did you play with on the playground?", or: "Who got in trouble today?"

Anything that doesn't elicit a simple yes/no answer is a pretty good place to start, and soon you'll know all the schoolyard tea.

Featured image credit: Betsie Van Der Meer/Getty Images