School Talk: Getting Your Preschooler to Open Up

Asking your preschooler, “How was school today?” seems like a reasonable conversation starter, but for many young children, the question is too vague to answer.

Preschooler’s days are filled with playing, learning, coloring, singing, and socializing. Factor in a limited vocabulary, and it’s challenging for many young children to express their thoughts about the entire day.

Preschoolers learn from their daily interactions and experiences, and communicating with young children about those experiences is key. According to KidsHealth, “The more interactive conversation and play kids are involved in, the more they learn.”

If you can figure out the right kind of questions to ask your preschooler, you’ll have a much better chance of getting more than a one-word response.

Try these 10 questions to help your child to start talking:

  1. What was the best thing that happened at school today?
  2. That’s a beautiful drawing you made. Tell me about it.
  3. Tell me something that made you laugh today.
  4. Who would you like to play with during free-time that you’ve never played with before? Why?
  5. Tell me something that you learned today.
  6. What was your favorite part of lunch?
  7. Tell me about a game you played today.
  8. What was the silliest thing that happened at school?
  9. How did you help somebody today?
  10. Name a book that your teacher read out loud. What did you like about it?

Once your preschooler starts talking, it’s important to listen. As tempting as it may be to jump in with more questions, let your child continue to speak. This shows that you are interested and engaged in the conversation and it can increase your child’s confidence.

One last thing to keep in mind, if you notice that your child is quieter right after school but chattier at dinnertime or bedtime, then use those cues to your advantage. Like adults, some children need time to de-stress after a long day. To make the most of your conversation, find a time when your preschooler is likely to speak at length as well as a time when you can listen without interruptions.

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