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Stop Saying “How Was Your Day?”

Stop Saying “How Was Your Day?”



This article was first published at www.thepreparedenvironment.com on May 11, 2016

As a Montessori parent, figuring out what your child did all day can be particularly challenging.

“How was your day” is a particularly useless question, as it asks for a judgment of the entire day in a word or two (good, bad, interesting). “What did you do today?” won’t get you far either. Even if your child was happily engaged in work all morning, she may still say she did “nothing” all day. And on the surface, it may even look like your child is doing nothing (which is of course far from true.)

Your focus will become your child’s focus, so steer clear of questions like “Did you get a new presentation today?” or “Did you get all your math work finished?” Look instead for open-ended, process focused questions that allow your child to actively reflect and make connections. This shifted focus will strengthen your child’s ability to think for herself, draw new, creative solutions to problems, and have confidence in her abilities.

These questions below focus on recalling a specific event or piece of information, and are designed to spark a conversation. If your child doesn’t begin talking, ask a follow up question (Like what?… Why?…Tell me more.) Some of these also take thinking one step further and encourage reflection, evaluation, application, and empathy. Young children are just developing the capacity for these advanced thinking skills, so you might get a non-logical answer back!

Today I challenge you to ask your child at least one of these questions. Write a few down and keep them in your car, purse, or wallet if you like. Note: your child may take much longer to answer, as these questions require more complex thinking. Be sure to wait up to 30 seconds before repeating yourself.

Primary Montessori: (ages 3-5)

  • What is something that went really well today?
  • What is something that was challenging today?
  • What was really fun today?
  • What new thing did you try today?
  • How did you help a friend today? …How do you think they felt after you helped?
  • How did you take care of your classroom today?… What if no one helped take care of the classroom?
  • Did you read a book today? What was it about?
  • How are you feeling right now? …What else?….What else?…What else?
  • Did you need help with something today? How did you solve it?
  • What did you eat for snack/lunch? Was anything particularly delicious?

5 bonus questions for Elementary (ages 6-9)

  • What project are you working on now? How do you feel about your progress? (reflection, evaluation)
  • How were you kind to your classmates today? (reflection, evaluation, empathy)
  • Tell me an amazing thing you learned today. Is it a fact or an opinion? (application, reflection)
  • Is there something that you said or did that you would take back now? What would you do instead? (empathy, evaluation, problem solving)
  • How is your guide feeling today? (encourages conversation, listening, and empathy)

35 Helpful Catchphrases (1)


Some Toughts (2)

  1. Avatar
    added on 17 Sep, 2016

    In my house we play High/Low. So I’ll ask him, “what is your high-low?” And he’ll tell me his “high” which is anything that made him happy, proud, or something awesome he did in a lesson or for a friend… His low is anything that made him frustrated, upset and so on. It’s a great way to hear about his day and for us to reflect and discuss our behaviors and feelings! And so much easier than remembering all those ways to ask “how was your day” w/o saying “how was your day” LOL

    • Amanda
      added on 24 Oct, 2016

      Thanks for sharing with us Elizabeth!

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