Tired of one-word answers from your children? Dr. Siggie Cohen shares the questions you should be asking to get the answers you need.

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After school today, ask your kid how their day was, I dare you. Most parents know they will only get a one-word answer to this question: "fine." But it doesn't have to be that way. In a now-viral TikTok post, Siggie Cohen, Ph.D., a child and family therapist who goes by Dr. Siggie on social media, shares sound advice that will help break the tradition of closed-ended answers after a long school day.

The question of "how was your day at school [is] too big, too general," says Dr. Siggie in a TikTok in early September that's now been liked by nearly 278,000 people. The question, while simple for older individuals to answer, is overwhelming for younger minds.

Instead of asking one general question about their day, Dr. Siggie encourages parents to ask specific questions that break up parts of their day. Questions such as "Who did you sit next to at snack time?" or "Did your teacher say something funny?" aren't as overwhelming.

Specific questions pertaining to their day also offer a "detailed and balanced" way for children to share their experiences with you.

An image of a woman holding her daughter's hand while walking.
Credit: Getty Images.

Dr. Siggie's Instagram page also offers advice on practicing patience with your children, erring on the side of caution when making promises, and what do if your child has a hitting or biting problem, among other pertinent topics.

Similarly, getting your teenager to talk is a common issue parents deal with as well. In a previous Parents.com article, writer Alexia Lewis shared personal insight as to why she wasn't always open with her parents, and what you can do to encourage clear communication.

Despite being older and more capable of putting big experiences into words, teenagers are also fond of one-word answers, especially with parents. The reason behind their silence is different though. They often feel that they should only come to their parents when things are serious or they're concerned their parents will be disappointed in them if they are not perfect, explains Lewis.

Part of Parents.com's 'Teen Talk' column, where teenagers offer insight from the teen perspective to parents, Lewis encourages parents of teenagers to be engaged and really listen—conversations should not be an item to check off a to-do list.

Whether parenting a 6-year-old or a 16-year-old, it's apparent that one-word responses are the norm. To flip the script, be engaged, ask specific questions, and commit to having an open, understanding conversation with your children.