Want to find out about your kid's day? Ask them SOCK questions, suggests a teacher (#4 works a treat)

It can be frustrating when your child refuses to tell you all about their day at school, when all you get is a thumbs up, but these question prompts should help

child greeted by his mum
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Do you always ask your child about their day at school but don't get much response? A teacher has shared her top conversation starters and it involves the SOCK formula (and no, not the kind you wear on your feet).

If you're doing the school run in the afternoon, one of the things most parents cannot wait to ask their children is how their day has been with a series of questions to ask kids. But when you're met with a wave of silence or just the typical one-word answers, it's only natural to think that something is wrong or that there's something they're not telling you. Your mind might naturally go into overdrive thinking it could be because they've shown 'mean' behaviour at school instead.

But we can help you transform your deadly silent car journey home or relatively quiet stroll into one where you cannot stop your child from talking about what they've done - and it's all thanks to teacher Katie Plunkett.

She shared on her Instagram some tips for parents to put into practice - and it's NOT asking them 'Did you have fun?' as Katie explains why parents must scrap that question.

She said, "We often greet kids with this question after events, sometimes before they even buckle up or walk through the door. Kids sense our relief when we get a positive response, which can lead them to associate fun with approval and safety. However, instilling the belief that every experience should be “fun” creates unrealistic expectations. While we desire their happiness, we risk raising a generation chasing constant fun and facing perpetual FOMO (fear of missing out)."

Instead, she suggests taking a different approach. and it involves the smart word S.O.C.K. She explained, "If you really want insight into your child’s experiences, try asking a S.O.C.K. question..."

What is a S.O.C.K question?

  1. Specific - What was something challenging you faced? | Can you tell me about how you felt when....? | Is there someone new you met or talked to? How do you feel when you’re with [friend’s name]? | What was the coolest thing you saw or did?
  2. Open-ended - What was the most surprising part of your day? | What would you change about today if you could?
  3. Creative - What’s one new thing you learned today?
  4. Kid-friendly - Who did you spend the most time with today? | What’s something special about one of your friends? | Did anything make you curious or wonder why? | Was there something you didn’t understand but want to?

A post shared by Katie Plunkett

A photo posted by kidtalk.co on

Katie added that asking a child “Did you have fun” is "vague, leading, and sets unrealistic expectations. S.O.C.K. questions are accessible, engaging, and get kids talking."

Katie offered parents a chance to receive a link to 50 free S.O.C.K. questions by commenting 'TALK' on her post, and hundreds have done so. So if you struggle to get your kids to open up, clearly you're not alone.

One parent said, "I appreciate these questions as my eight-year-old loves to talk and some open-ended questions would be great starting points."

Another parent said, "I love this! I remember being a kid and being clueless as to how to answer my mom at the end of the school day!"

And a third parent added, "This is wonderful, no putting them on the spot or making them think negatively."

In other family news, “This is not the answer” – why the latest government scheme to increase school attendance has enraged parents, and we totally get it and 'Are you even listening to me?' If it feels like your teenager is tuning you out, they probably are, but research proves it’s not personal, just science.

Selina Maycock
Senior Family Writer

Selina is a Senior Family Writer for GoodtoKnow and has more than 16 years years of experience. She specialises in royal family news, including the latest activities of Prince George, Charlotte, Louis, Archie and Lilibet. She also covers the latest government, health and charity advice for families. Selina graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2006 with a degree in Journalism, and gained her NCTJ and NCE qualifications. During her career, she’s also written for Woman, Woman's Own, Woman&Home, and Woman's Weekly as well as Heat magazine, Bang Showbiz - and the Scunthorpe Telegraph. When she's not covering family news, you can find her exploring new countryside walking routes, catching up with friends over good food, or making memories (including award-winning scarecrows!)