How to get your kids to communicate

Expert tips on how to get your kids to communicate in 2023

“Hey babe! How was your day at school today?”


“Anything interesting happen?”


“Um… Okay then…”


And with that, you have just witnessed a typical conversation between me and my children on any given day after school.

So, for 2023, I am making it my Mom Resolution to get my kids to open up more about their time at school.

But, what should I ask them that will elicit more than a one-word response?

For that, I went to the experts: Hillsborough County Public School’s 2023 Excellence in Education Teacher of the Year Finalists!

These educators are among the best of the best, and their expertise is spread across the age spectrum. We have a PreK teacher, two elementary teachers, a middle school teacher and a high school teacher. There’s something for every age group!

So, without further ado, straight from our 2023 Teacher of the Year Finalists are the questions every parents wants to know to encourage them to become more chatty about their day:



Rebecca Oakeson – Pre-K/VPK teacher at Kingswood Elementary

  • What was the best thing that happened today?
  • How were you kind today?
  • What did you work on really hard today?


Elementary Age

Josette Daley – Third grade teacher at Forest Hills Elementary

  • Is there anything worrying you about school?
  • Who did you help today?
  • What or who made you laugh today?
  • What is one thing you want to learn more about, and why?
  • Who did you talk to at school today and what did you talk about?


Nicolette Barone – Fifth grade teacher at Oak Park Elementary

(Barone suggests trying to disguise your questioning and starting with a personal experience to get your children to open up more.)

  • What was the best part of your morning/afternoon?
  • What is something you’re really strong or good at? (Start by sharing something you’re good at.)
  • What is something you’d like to accomplish in 2023? Make a list of your personal, school and fun goals for the new year!


Middle School Age

Elizabeth Hawley – Media specialist at Dowdell Middle Magnet

  • Which of your teachers do you think had the hardest/easiest day? Why?
  • What was the chatter in the hallways at school today?
  • Who do you spend the most time with at school? What qualities do you like about this person?
  • Which of your classes do you think is preparing you for your future?


High School Age

Elizabeth Osborn – AP psychology teacher at Alonso High

  • What was something that surprised you today or happened that was unexpected?
  • What was something that challenged you today? What are some ideas you have to overcome these challenges?
  • What happened that gave you that “I can do this!” feeling?



Thank you to our 2023 Excellence in Education Finalists for providing some questions that will help our children better communicate with us about their day!

The EIE 2023 award ceremony will be held Jan. 26 at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets are still available at:

*Presented by Hillsborough County Public Schools | Originally published in January 2023 of Tampa Bay Parenting Magazine.  Photo by iStock by Getty Images.