Asking “How was your day?” is a question that many of us ask the significant people in our lives.
Most people spend their days apart from the people they love and care about—spouses go to their respective jobs, and kids go to school.
When everyone is finally back home, the most straightforward question to get a conversation started seems to be, “How was your day?”
Think about the answer we receive to that question, though.
Your child might respond to your inquiry about their day at school with something like, “It was ok.”
Your spouse might reply that work was “busy” or “boring.”
These answers aren’t significant.
To get more meaningful responses, try asking differently.
Use a way that causes the person to think and apply a little self-reflection before responding.
The additional details might shock you!
You can flush out just by asking your question differently!
Meaningful ways to ask your child, “How was your day?”
There are so many moments that happen at school, and for kids especially, that can be overwhelming. Some of those moments might be great, and others not so much.
Help your child separate the good and the bad by being more specific when you inquire about their day.
These five questions will help your child sort out what they enjoyed about their school day:
- What is something you did today that you wish you could do every day?
- Did anything happen today that made you laugh?
- Can you think of an example of how you were kind to someone today?
- What did you do today that made you feel proud?
- Is there anything you learned today that you could teach me?
These questions will give your child the chance to determine what activities pique their interest. They will also provide them with an opportunity to talk to you about the happy moments they had during their day.
“When you are enthusiastic about what you do, you feel this positive energy. It’s very simple.” — Paulo Coelho
Days are made up of good and bad moments
It is also essential to give your child a chance to reflect on any negative emotions they might have experienced during their day. These five questions will help you gain insight into what your child might be struggling with:
- Did anything make you feel frustrated today?
- What was the most challenging part of your day?
- Did you notice your teacher getting frustrated or frowning?
- Was there anything that happened that made you feel sad?
- Were you worried about anything today?
You don’t have to ask all these questions. That might be a bit intense! However, I would ask one from each category every day.
That way, you can get a complete picture. Also, don’t ask the same question every day. Switch it up, and give your little one the chance to focus on different things each day.
“In every day, there are 1,440 minutes. That means we have 1,440 daily opportunities to make a positive impact.” — Les Brown
Meaningful ways to ask your partner, “How was your day?”
This question itself is meant to be open-ended and build intimacy between partners who share aspects of their day. However, so many things can happen in a single day that it can feel daunting to detail all of them.
So, our brains skim through all the things that happened. If nothing overly exciting or terrible happened, we would respond with the dreaded “Fine.” Fine is not much of a conversation starter, and suddenly you are both just focused on what to do for dinner.
No one wants to answer that question either…
So, how can you rephrase this question in a way that gives your more details? Just like with your children, it comes down to being more specific.
You want to give your partner the chance to discover how they are changing and growing into the best versions of themselves every day. Try these questions focused on growth:
- Did you read or listen to anything interesting today?
- What are you most grateful for about your day?
- What inspired you the most today and why?
- Will you remember any specific part of your day five minutes from now? Five days? Five years? How come?
- If you could do any part of today over again, what would it be and why?
These questions will help your partner practice gratitude and self-awareness at the end of every day. Both are essential to building a life filled with meaning.
“Happiness is an attitude. We either make ourselves miserable, or happy and strong. The amount of work is the same.” — Francesca Reigler
Lighten it up a little too
Like with kids, you don’t want to ask too many heavy questions. Pick one question that makes them think a little deeper. Then try some of these fun ones that a story might accompany.
- What did you do for lunch today?
- If your day turned into a movie, who would make up the cast?
- How many cups of coffee did you have today?
- How can I make your day easier in five minutes?
- Did you take any photos today? What of?
Think about how your partner might answer some of these questions. I would love to know what my husband took a picture of and why. I can’t wait to ask him!
Also, think about how appreciated your partner will feel if you ask how you can make their life easier with just five minutes of your time. These things will not only switch up the mundaneness of “How was your day?”
They will also improve the communication and intimacy between you both.
“Every day may not be good… but there’s something good in every day.” — Alice Morse Earle
Caring to ask “How was your day?” matters to your relationships
Caring enough to ask the important people in our lives how their day was, matters. It shows that we are interested in what happens to them, even when they are not physically with us. It makes people feel special and validated.
Therefore, it is such a shame when we ask the same question every day and get a one-word response. This moment of sharing with our children and partners has become just another thing to check off the daily to-do list.
Take a minute to put some effort back into this question so you can get the most out of this moment. Your child and spouse will have to put more effort into their answer.
It is a simple thing that can have a profound impact on not only how tomorrow goes but how you all share information with each other.
Remember that asking is only half the equation, though. When they respond, make sure you are actively listening.
That means that while they are speaking, you keep focused on what your partner is saying. Maintain eye contact, ask pertinent questions, demonstrate interest, and show compassion when needed.
You will walk away from these daily interactions with a better understanding of what each other’s day looks like. This can also help you foster a deeper sense of appreciation for each other.
What are some meaningful ways you ask others how their day was? Share your tips with us in the comment section below!
September 3, 2022 9:00 AM EST