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3 Things to Ask Her Instead of “How Was Your Day?”

Illustration: a girl wearing an apron grates carrots while talking to older family members who are also helping to prepare the meal.

As parents, we often want to debrief with our children about their day at school. Our default question to them often will be, “How was your day?” While our intentions are good, this question isn’t very effective.

That’s because it’s overwhelmingly open-ended—especially for a tired kid! If we ask questions like these, we will usually be met with the same one-word answer again and again: “Fine.”

Our daughters are dealing with a lot as they grow up, from social pressures to academic workloads to their changing bodies. It might be tricky for girls to communicate their feelings to us. But finding ways to engage with our girls in meaningful ways during this pivotal time in their lives is so important. And we’re here to help!

Below are tons of talking points you can use today to inspire an engaging conversation with your Rebel.

Ask about school (without it feeling like a quiz)

As parents, we want to do our due diligence by keeping up with our daughters’ academics. Asking the right questions can help us gain insight into the areas our Rebels are excelling at—and where they might need some support.

Here are some ways to talk about school:

What do you think of your [insert subject here] teacher?

What was the most interesting thing you learned about today?

What class was so boring you wanted to fall asleep?

What’s something you did today that you’re proud of?

Ask for a vibe check (without killing the vibe)

We can get a sense of how our child’s day went based on their overall mood. However, we don’t want to assume how they’re feeling as this could actually push them away. Instead, we can invite the opportunity to talk it out—which might be exactly what they need.

Try out these prompts:

Tell me about something that frustrated you today.

Was there anyone at school that upset you today?

What was the funniest thing that happened today?

Ask about her besties (and bullies)

At your Rebel’s age, friendships certainly ebb and flow, which can bring up some big feelings. So how do you get the scoop on how your Rebel is doing on the friendship front? Get specific. Ask questions that prompt her to share stories about the daily interactions she’s having and how she feels about them.

Here are some suggestions:

If your friends had to pick only one word to describe you, what would it be?

Did you see anyone being a jerk today?

Who did you have the most fun with today?

One last thing to keep in mind: our daughters may not always be up for direct communication, and that’s okay. You can always let them know that if they don’t feel like talking now, you can catch up later. Pick a time when your daughter is most relaxed, like just before bed or while cooking dinner together to bring up one of these topics—or two! The goal is to decrease stress and have your child walking away from conversations feeling positive—that way, they’ll feel comfortable coming back again and again.

Looking for more ways to inspire meaningful conversations with your daughter? Gift her Growing Up Powerful, a bold, big-hearted guide to girlhood.

Finding ways to engage with our girls in meaningful ways during this pivotal time in their lives is so important. And we’re here to help!