It’s unlikely for children to engage in meaningful conversations about how their day went when asked the typical question, „How was your day?“ The kind of information parents really want – whether they learned something new, had trouble with a friend, triumphed or failed – can be hard to come by from a tired child at the end of a long school day. It can be challenging to figure out what questions to ask without feeling like you’re nagging or pestering them. So, what are some good alternatives to „How was your day?“
The Family Dinner Project has been working on alternatives to „How was your day?“ for over a decade. We’ve come up with numerous conversation starters on various topics that you can try out. We’ve even put together a brief list of alternatives that can be used with other adults, as children are not the only ones who may be reluctant to talk after a long day. Now, we have compiled a master list of 100 alternatives to „How Was Your Day?“ to help families gain real insights into school and work.
Within this printable list, you will find:
Alternatives to „How was your day?“ for Preschoolers
Even the little ones may need a good question to get them talking! The list includes many child-friendly questions, but we have also created a one-pager specifically for this age group. Try asking questions like:
- If you were to paint a picture of your day, what colors would you use?
- If I were to watch you play today during recess, what would I have seen?
- Who helped you today?
Ideas for Elementary School Children
On a big list of 100 questions, there are plenty suitable for elementary school-aged children. The best ones for your family will depend on the age, maturity, and personality of your individual child. You can try different types of questions such as:
- If you were to write an article about your day, what would the headline be?
- What is something from today that you wish you could do again?
- What did you learn today that you think I don’t know about?
- If a movie were made about your life, would it include everything that happened today? Why or why not?
- Who was the funniest person you met today? How about the least fun?
- What made you smile today? Tell me about it.
Questions for Teenagers and Tweens
As children grow into middle and high school, it can be even more challenging to get them to open up. You may need to try strategies like starting with a story about your own day or asking them for advice. You can also use interests such as music and video games to formulate questions that interest them. Try questions like these:
- If you had a photo album of all the moments of your day, what would the five best photos contain?
- If there were a book/movie/TV show/video game about your day, what would it be?
- Did you do anything cool or fun this week?
- If you could choose a playlist representing you today, what would it include?
- What did you learn today that you would like to delve into further?
- Something happened to me today that I want to tell you about. What would you have done if…?
Alternatives for Adults
Many questions that work well for teenagers can also work well for adults. In fact, it might be fun to try out a few more imaginative questions to break out of the adult conversational rut! Questions related to work, passions, interests, and legacy may work particularly well when asking adults about their day. Start conversations with questions like:
- Did you work with someone on a project or idea today? How was collaborating with them?
- I thought of you today when…
- Did you read or hear something today that really made you think?
- When you look back on this year in the future, will something from today stand out to you?
- What is one thing you saw today that you would like to fix?
- I know you were dealing with ____ yesterday. How did that go today?
- Tell me about a person who was a bright spot for you this week.
This is just a short list of examples that could help you avoid single-word responses at the end of the day. Be sure to browse through the full print-out list to get many more ideas so you never feel stuck asking, „How was your day?“ again!