When I picked my son up from his first day of 4th grade, my usual (enthusiastically delivered) question of "how was your day?" was met with his usual (indifferently delivered) "fine."
Come on! It's the first day, for crying out loud! Give me something to work with, would you, kid?
The second day, my same question was answered, "well, no one was a jerk."
That's good...I guess.
I suppose the problem is my own. That question actually sucks. Far from a conversation starter, it's uninspired, overwhelmingly open ended, and frankly, completely boring. So as an alternative, I've compiled a list of questions that my kid will answer with more than a single word or grunt. In fact, he debated his response to question 8 for at least half an hour over the weekend. The jury's out until he can organize a foot race.
Questions a kid will answer at the end of a long school day:
What did you eat for lunch?
Did you catch anyone picking their nose?
What games did you play at recess?
What was the funniest thing that happened today?
Did anyone do anything super nice for you?
What was the nicest thing you did for someone else?
Who made you smile today?
Which one of your teachers would survive a zombie apocalypse? Why?
What new fact did you learn today?
Who brought the best food in their lunch today? What was it?