Helping Your Child Recount the Holidays

The biggest question when coming back to school after the school holidays is “what did you do in your school holidays?”! For some children they might talk about their trip or a special day, but for some other children they’re not sure what to say. Telling recounts is a complex language task that requires a number of skills such as memory, developed vocabulary, and sentence structure. Prepare your child for this question before they go to school in the following ways:

Pick one day / event

  • Try not to overload your child by having them explain what happened every single day of the holidays!
  • Help your child remember and pick one day or event they would like to share
  • Talk through the event in sequence (e.g. ‘and then what happened?’)
  • Prompt your child to remember details by asking questions (e.g. “who went with you?” or “who did we see there?”)
  • Include details such as feelings (e.g. “I was feeling happy! What about you?”)

Use visuals

  • Visuals of ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘when’, ‘where’, and ‘why’ are great prompters to support with a child’s ability to recall details from their day
  • Add structure by asking them as questions and then remove prompting with further practice e.g. 1st time parent: “where did you go?” child: “to the beach!” 2nd time parent: “what did you do in the holidays?” *point to ‘where’ picture* child: “I went to the beach with my family and…”
  • Draw a storyline of the event
  • Show some pictures from the day (if available)


  • On the way to school, talk through the event so it is fresh in the child’s memory

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