Jesse Diggins, Psychologist
As school and work begins for another year, so does the daily ritual of inquiring about our loved one’s day. Children and adults alike give the customary, ‘good’ and the conversation halts before it ever gained any momentum. We can do better! Here are 7 new questions to ask to avoid that dreaded loop.
1. What went well today?
This question is used as a part of a core exercise by Positive Psychologists because it promotes reflection on our strengths and generates gratitude. To take this further and get closer to the original exercise titled ‘Three Blessings’, ask the question three times over and follow it with the question, ‘Why did it go well?’.
2. Who helped you today?
3. Who did you help today?
These questions are used ritually at one of my workplaces. They create a sense of community and connection with peers. For parents, these questions may be helpful in identifying the positive relationships in your child’s life that you can encourage to grow.
4. What are you learning at the moment?
5. What are you working on at the moment?
6. What did you find challenging today?
All of the above are open-ended questions. Unlike closed questions - such as ‘How was your day?’, or, ‘Did you have a good day?’ - these open-ended questions are difficult to answer with just one word. Counsellors use these questions all the time as they generate conversation flow and elicit useful information.
7. What would your teacher/boss say about you?
Another way of disrupting the default reaction to label our day with basic adjectives is by changing the perspective. Stepping outside ourselves provides this circuit breaker and prompts a deeper level of insight that can get us thinking and communicating.