It takes patience and creativity to start an honest conversation with your child about her day.

It’s best to avoid limiting questions with “Yes” or “No” answers. Instead, ask open-ended questions that invite her to consider how she feels about specific aspects of her day. The ten questions below are open-ended and intended to help you get a feel for your child’s interests, activities, friendships and comfort level talking about his experiences. Listen for clues about anything or anyone she might be having difficulties with. Take note of any topics he avoids. The last question can lead into a conversation about tomorrow and how it could go even better than today. Sometimes a productive conversation can spring from only one question. You might find that some questions spark your child’s interest while others fall flat. Follow her lead. What she talks about is much less important than the fact that she’s talking. And don’t be afraid to add something about your day so the exchange feels more like a conversation than an interrogation.

Be sure to talk in a relaxed and quiet setting, free of electronics and other distractions. These questions are only as good as your responsiveness to the answers.

The greatest gift you can give your child is your undivided attention.

What word best describes your day?

What color best describes your day?

What picture could you draw to explain part of your day?

What is the best thing that happened today?

What is the worst thing that happened today?

Who were you happy to see today?

What do you wish you did more of today?

What is something new you learned today?

What are you most grateful for today?

If you could change one thing about today, what would it be?