Ideally, our children would come home from school and spill all of the interesting things that happened during the day. Unfortunately, this rarely happens. So how do we get our kids talking?
When my son gets home from school, he is hungry, tired, and sometimes a little sad that the school day is over. After all, he just came from a day of scheduled activities with his classmates, and now he’s home with his regular old toys, a little brother who is just starting to talk, and two tired parents who are just getting home from work. Not to sell ourselves short (I mean, we’re pretty awesome parents, right?) but it’s hard to compete with the fun and interaction a child his own age can offer him.
Nonetheless, it’s important to open up conversation with him so he feels valued and appreciated, and also to keep ourselves in the loop about what’s going on with him socially and academically.
Unfortunately, starting a conversation with him about his day, even if it was a good one, is sometimes like pulling teeth–and I can’t really blame him. Transitions are hard for kids and he needs time to adjust to being home.
The keys to get your kids talking
For us this means either in the car on the way home bc he’s still excited about his day at school or, waiting until after a hug and a snack. He is much more open to discussion when he has a happy belly!
o Asking the right questions
This seems like it would be super easy to master but keep in mind, asking “How was your day” is just too general of a topic. Where do they begin? Also, try to avoid yes/no questions ala, “did you have a good day?” It’s just too easy for savvy kids to blow you off with a quick “yes!”
To get your kids talking about their day, and avoid getting a general answer like, “it was good,” try the following conversation starters…after a snack of course!
1. What made you smile today?
Kids don’t like to focus on the negative (who does?). Encouraging him to talk about things that make him happy opens up the doors to real conversation.
2. Who were you a good friend to today? or Who was a good friend to you?
This type of question encourages awareness and empathy. It cues your child into the importance of kindness and reciprocation and sets the tone for future positive interactions with his peers. Yes, you are watching!
3. What did you have for snack?
Kids tend to get excited about snack food and love to tell you what they ate. You could also turn this into a guessing game for added fun! Ex: Have your child give the first letter or sound of the food he ate.
4. What did you read about today?
This usually opens up conversation and invites follow up questions that will encourage him to tell you about something he recently learned. It doesn’t get more engaging than that!
5. Who did you play with today?
This could be on the playground, during centers time or after school (if you are a working parent and miss this sort of thing). It also opens you up to future play date opportunities as you get to know his circle of friends.
Still facing reluctance?
If your child is still reluctant to open up to you, consider your approach. The goal is not to interrogate your child (even if you really want to know about his life outside of your home!). Kids sense our nervousness like dogs smell fear. Take a deep breath and relax. Information will come, even if it comes from his peers at the next playdate!
What questions do you ask your children to get them talking about their day? Let me know in the comments!
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