Conversation starters and questions to get your little one sharing!
“How was your day?”
Want a little more detail? For families of young children, the time between pick up and drop off is perfect for connection. And having the right questions results in amazing sharing. Read below from one of our in-house experts, Courtney Johnson Penn. Previously, Courtney was an early ed teacher and program director. But maybe more importantly, she’s a mama to three-year-old Braxton.
Questions Help Us Connect
Today, when you pick up your child, try some new questions to get them really talking. These tips are especially helpful if your child is like mine. You know, the kind who tells you about his day by saying, “I ate lunch.” Or maybe your child says, “I don’t know.” (I’ve been there, too.)
Each of the questions below begins with asking about the day, which gives them context. As I’m sure you know, bite-sized ideas are better for most little kids. Talking about a whole day can feel like a lot to their brains. After that question, we can move on to asking about what came next. So, the context helps them think in more detail. And following a storyline – even about their day – from one part to the next also builds pre-reading skills.
“Did you get to paint, play with blocks, or play with costumes?
Ask them if they painted, played with blocks or played in the dramatic play area (you know, the one with the dress-up clothes and pretend food). If they say yes, ask them what they made. Maybe ask how they made it or who helped them.
About outdoor play:
“Did you leave the classroom today to go outside?”
Ask them if they went outside. If so, ask what did they climbed on or ran by. You can also ask about what and who they played with.
“What did you eat at lunch today?”
Ask them what they had to eat at a meal or snack. You can help them remember by going over the menu with them. (Ask for a menu from staff if you don’t already have one.) Then, you can talk about how things tasted.
“Did you get to sing today?”
Ask them if music was a part of their day. Ask the teacher to tell you the names of the songs. Then, at home, look those classroom jams up on YouTube for a sing-along. Family music parties are great for weekend fun too.
“What book did you read today?”
Ask them about reading – solo or with a group. Then, ask them what the book was about. To build on that experience, you can find a similar book or topic at home or on your next visit to the library. Or it’s also fun to just make up stories together.
Children learn so much just by talking. When we talk-talk-talk, we build their language skills bit by bit. And, maybe more important to me as a mother, we help them connect to us. Do you have a perfect question to get little ones chatting? Share it below. Goodness knows I can use new ideas, too!
Build Your Child’s Brighter Future!
Want to dive deeper into the language development of your little one? Check out our English & Language Arts Play and Learning guidance for:
- Babies — Storytelling is an ancient art, and your baby is ready to participate.
- One-year-olds — His vocabulary is growing non-stop. Beyond that, he’s moving from single words like “ball” and “go” to phrases like “throw ball” and “we go!”
- Two-year-olds — “Put your toys away, please.” If your toddler doesn’t respond to this request, it might be more about his unwillingness to cooperate than his inability to understand.
- Three-year-olds — She’s taking in new things, processing them, and communicating them back in new ways.
- Pre-K learners — Your chatterbug is using more and more words — both sharing his ideas and listening to others’ thoughts.