Episode 6: Getting Past “How Was Your Day?”

How many times have you picked your child up from school or the bus stop and asked “How was your day?” only to be met with “good” or “fine”.  Then you follow up with “What did you do today?” only to, once again, be met with a vague answer like “nothing”.  Why do kids do that?  Why are they reluctant to talk to us about their day even though, as parents, we want to hear and talk about their experiences?  In episode 6, Amy Van Hoose and 2nd grade teachers Kate Knolhoff and Emily Lovelace share questioning strategies to help get your kids to open up and what to do with the information they give you.


Katelin Knolhoff has her Masters in Elementary Education degree from Greenville College. This is her third year teaching for the Triad District. It is also her third year teaching 2nd grade at Silver Creek Elementary.




Emily Lovelace is in her second year in the Triad District and at Silver Creek Elementary School. Last year she had the privilege of teaching first grade, but is excited to begin her new adventure in second grade! She attended Greenville College where she earned her Undergraduate Degree in Elementary Education. In her spare time she enjoys coaching cheerleading for Triad Middle School, spending time with her family and of course, READING!


  • What are some ways to get the conversation started?

    • When you pick up your child, keep the conversation simple at first.  “Hey bud, I missed you!”  Don’t just start asking 20 questions in 5 minutes.  
    • Start the conversation with something funny, exciting, interesting that happened to you that day. (Ex. Oh my gosh Jill, today a deer ran out in front of my car.  It was so scary!)    
    • Try to stay away from questions with yes or no answers.  Keep your questions specific  (What did you do in science today? Who did you play with at recess? What was your favorite part of your day?).
    • When your child answers make sure you are listening and reply back with another question or positive feedback so that they know you understand.

    What if they still aren’t talking?

    • Maybe they aren’t ready yet.  Kids have a full day and might not be ready as soon as they are in the car or walk in the door
    • Ask one question.  If you feel they aren’t ready then say: “I see you aren’t ready to chat.  I will come see you later to talk about your day”
    • Talk about your day or something funny that happened to you.  

    What if your child brings up a problem at school?

    • Always stay calm. Have a neutral voice.   
    • Retell the problem to your child.  So that they know you were listening.
    • Discuss the options that they can do about the problem.  
    • Tell them a story about when you faced a similar problem and how you solved it

    There are many ways to have rich conversations without needing to have all of the information provided from your child too.

    • For younger kids, you can check their folders nightly to find work that they completed in class and catch a glimpse of what they’re working on each day.  Checking your child’s folder each night with your child is an easy way to start a conversation.  For example: If you notice your child has done exceptional work on an assignment, be sure to give them positive feedback in a timely manner, that way they know you recognize their hard work and they are motivated to keep it up!
    • Look through newsletters and websites and find specific areas to review.
    • If your child’s teacher uses class messenger, dojo, or any online communication system this is an another excellent way to see what your child has been or is doing in class.
    • You can find a Triad staff directory at www.tcusd2.org under “Parent Resources”.  Each teacher has a website linked to his or her profile.

    What about when work comes home and you notice your child is struggling?

    • First thing to remember is to not get upset right away or begin to worry.  Ask your child if it is a new skill or something they have been practicing
    • Ask your child if he/she has asked for extra help on this skill or received extra help from the teacher that way you know what steps have already been taken.
    • Identify what your child is struggling with and then work with your child to develop a goal for improvement.
    • If after a week or so you notice that your child is not improving on this skill then I would contact the teacher about additional strategies to use to improve in this area.  

Taking a Bath with the Dog and Other Things that Make Me Happy

This book tells the story of a little girl who is feeling sad, but by the end of the book she is able to make a pretty great list of things that make her happy and turns her mood around.  This will likely inspire youngsters who are in a funk to seek joy in the unexpected as well as in the perfectly ordinary.

What Were You Thinking? Learning To Control Your Impulses

Third-grader Braden loves to be the center of attention. His comic genius, as he sees it, causes his friends to look at him in awe. But some poor decision-making, like ill-timed jokes in class and an impulsive reaction during gym that left a classmate teary-eyed and crumpled on the floor, forces the adults in Braden’s life to teach him about impulse control. But will the lessons shared by his teachers and his mom really help Braden manage his impulses?  A great book to read together if your child shares his/her frustration about behavior at school.

Today I Feel Silly: And Other Moods That Make My Day

Jamie Lee Curtis helps kids explore, identify, and, even have fun with their ever-changing moods.  Silly, cranky, excited, or sad—everyone has moods that can change each day. And that’s okay! Follow the boisterous, bouncing protagonist as she explores her moods and how they change from day to day.

I Can Handle It!

Can Sebastien handle his problems? Of course he can, with the help of a mindful mantra! He could try something silly, or he could try something funny! Chances are whatever his problem may be, he can handle it. Help your child learn to handle with difficult emotions along with Sebastian, and provide a tool for lifelong confidence!

The Report Card

It’s true that fifth grader Nora Rose Rowley is really a genius, but don’t tell anyone. Nora always gets average grades so she can forgo the pressures. But when Nora gets one hundred percent fed up over testing and the fuss everyone makes about grades, she brings home a terrible report card just to prove a point. Pretty soon her teachers, parents, and the principal are launching a massive effort to find out what’s wrong.

Double Dutch

Delia loves Double Dutch more than just about anything, and she’s really good at it — so good she and her teammates have a shot at winning the World Double Dutch Championships. Delia would die if she couldn’t jump — but Delia has a secret, and it could keep her off the team next year. Delia’s friend Randy has a secret too, one that has him lonely and scared. And while Delia and Randy struggle to keep their secrets, their school is abuzz with rumors about what malicious mischief the terrible Tolliver twins — who just may have a secret of their own — are planning. Why can’t life be as easy for Delia as Double Dutch?


Even though his classmates from first grade on have considered him strange and called him a loser, Donald Zinkoff’s optimism and exuberance and the support of his loving family do not allow him to feel that way about himself. And one winter night, Zinkoff’s differences show that any name can someday become “hero.”

Knots in my Yo-yo String

“A master of those embarrassing, gloppy, painful, and suddenly wonderful things that happen on the razor’s edge between childhood and full-fledged adolescence” (The Washington Post), Newbery medalist Jerry Spinelli has penned his early autobiography with all the warmth, humor, and drama of his best-selling fiction. From first memories through high school, including first kiss, first punch, first trip to the principal’s office, and first humiliating sports experience, this is not merely an account of a highly unusual childhood. Rather, like Spinelli’s fiction, its appeal lies in the accessibility and universality of his life. Entertaining and fast-paced, this is a highly readable memoir.

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