21 After-School Questions To Get Your Kids Talking

By Joshua Straub

A new school year not only gives our kids the chance to learn new things about the world around them, but also gives them opportunities to learn how to interact with the world around them. Whether you homeschool or your children go to public or private school, your kids’ budding brains are being stretched in so many ways — not just cognitively, but also emotionally and relationally.

As the guy who wrote a book on the importance of emotional intelligence in kids, I care more about my children’s character than I do about them getting straight A’s. I hope one day, when I’m old and frail, I can look back with fondness and pride on the legacy I’m leaving, knowing that my children love God and love all people.

But how can we know, today, what’s really going on inside the hearts and minds of our kids when all we receive in response to our heartfelt, “How was your day?” is…


So you probe, “Did you like it?”

Child: “Yes.”

At least it’s a start. You inquire further, “What did you like about it?”

Child: “I don’t know. Can we watch a movie when we get home?”

With this kind of exchange over time, it’s easy to cave to the movie and stop asking questions. That’s why we have to consider not just the type of question we ask but also the best time of the day to ask it. On the drive home, your child is likely tired and ready to unplug. With that in mind, consider asking the following questions at the dinner table, or when you tuck them into bed — which is often the most emotionally available time of the day for our kids.

21 After-School Questions to Get Your Kids Talking

  1. What’s one thing that really made you laugh today?
  2. What was your most favorite part of the day?
  3. What is one thing (subject, activity, etc.) you like/dislike about school? Tell me about that.
  4. What do you like about ________________ (i.e. your teacher, math, spelling, etc.)?
  5. Share one thing you know now that you didn’t know when you woke up this morning.
  6. Whom did you play with the most at school today? What did you do together?
  7. Who is someone you don’t like hanging out with? Why is that?
  8. Who is someone at school (or a friend you know) who always seems to do the right thing? Tell me about him/her.
  9. What is one thing you’re not looking forward to this week? How do you plan to make the most of it?
  10. Is there a problem you faced today that you solved? How did you solve it?
  11. When did you feel most proud of yourself today?
  12. Did anyone push your buttons today? Tell me about that. How did you react/respond?
  13. What is one thing you want God to help you with at school this week?
  14. What would you like to talk about tonight?
  15. Name one thing that happened today that you’re very thankful for.
  16. Is there a friend or classmate you have trouble getting along with? How can you be a better friend?
  17. Who is someone (a friend at school, a teacher, sibling, etc.) you saw act with integrity today? What did they do?
  18. What was the most difficult thing you had to deal with today? How did you get through it?
  19. What about school makes you happy?
  20. If you could change one thing about school, what it would be?
  21. What is one thing we can do as a family after school or on the weekend that would brighten your day?

Joshua Straub, Ph.D. is a speaker, author, and marriage and leadership coach. He and his wife, Christi, cohost the In This Together podcast and are coauthors of What Am I Feeling? and Homegrown: Cultivating Kids in the Fruit of the Spirit.


Just Add Water!

Title Image

By Nancy Cornwell

Did you know July 2019 was the hottest month ever recorded? August days tend to be hot and long, too — but a little bit of H2O can make your days cooler and more fun. Here are four ways to beat the heat by adding a little water to your day!

Old School Fun

Break out the sprinklers! My kids always love it when I just let the sprinklers run. They race back and forth across the lawn, giggling as the cold spray hits them. And, to be honest, Dad loves that the yard gets a little extra water too.

Willing to put in a little extra effort for classic fun? Set up a slip-and-slide and watch the fun ensue! When the kids are finally ready to call it a day, pass out some ice pops for them to enjoy while they cool down.

Car Wash Mania

I don’t know about your kids, but mine always complain when it’s time for chores. Make today’s chore to wash the cars! What’s more fun than a bucket full of soapy water? Just make sure to maintain control of the water hose or you are likely to be wet by the end of the day too!

And when the car washing chores are complete, pass around the sidewalk chalk and let the kids decorate the driveway. The wet driveway will make the chalk colors more vibrant and allow for the opportunity to make some beautiful art!

Buckets of Fun

Does your little one need something a little more contained? Set up a bucket, plastic tub, or even a sink full of water. Throw in a few small toys, a cup, a strainer, and some bubbles. I’m always surprised at how long a simple bucket of water can keep my kiddos entertained!

For another fun twist, include some play dishes and encourage your little one to wash them! This fun game now will encourage them to help with the real dishes when they get older.

Water Education

Allow your children to use water guns or paintbrushes to practice their letters, spell out words, solve math problems, and practice their art skills! Not only will they be keeping their brains sharp for school, they will be working on their fine motor skills as well. Who knew schoolwork could be so fun?

Consider other ways you can turn water play into educational activities. Use measuring cups to compare amounts of water. Discuss the difference in water and ice. Add food dye to cups of water and allow your kids to experiment with creating new colors.

What are your favorite ways to beat the heat?

Nancy Cornwell is an editor and writer who lives outside Nashville, Tenn., with her husband, Chris, and their three kids.

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