I am sure I am not the only Mom in the world that is super interested in their child’s day!
I am also 100% sure that some days, like me, you get a few words at best…
These tips have helped me!
Starting off, it is a good idea to let your child unwind first, and not to bombard them with questions the moment they leave school. They are just like adults that need a little space between work and home…
If your child starts talking, then go with it, that’s first prize. Let them lead the after-school conversation. In these particular conversations try to remain positive and encouraging, as children who receive negative or critical responses to self-prompted conversations soon stop talking.
When you as a parent are going to ask a question make sure you have time to hear the response and be able to participate 100% in whatever answer comes your way. Getting 3 children into the car, in the rain, in a hurry to get to karate or ballet is not a good time for you as a parent to listen. If children see that you are not listening they won’t talk. Its habit to say, “How was school?” Wait until you are ready to listen and hear the answer. The dinner table, for example, is a good setting for active conversation.
Tell your children what you did while they were at school, tell them about your day, surprisingly you will most probably find that you are the one answering questions. This is a fun way to start off.
Some schools send out communications around the current syllabus and themes. Take the time to read through this information, as you can build upon this at home. If you know your children are learning about dinosaurs you can prompt enthusiasm and conversation by finding out a few facts yourself and throwing in prompts like, “I bet the Triceratops would love to eat these salad leaves” … correctly or, “I bet the Triceratops would love to eat this steak…” knowing full well that you are going to be told that a Triceratops is a herbivore and only eats plants…
If your school does not send out regular communication regarding syllabus and themes, chat to the teacher in the morning, pick up on cues from the classroom, ask your children what they are learning about and expand… you may need to do some research yourself so you can use correct words and terminology.
We asked our teacher – Elizabeth McQueen – what her ideas were to ask, “How was your Day?” without getting the answer, “FINE!”
This is what she said:
When asking your children questions, ask a question that cannot be answered with one word.
- Tell me something that made you laugh today.
- What was the best thing that happened at school today?
- Where did you play today?
- What was your favourite part of the day?
- What story did your teacher read today, and what was it about?
- Who is the funniest person in your class? …What did they do?
- If you got to be the teacher tomorrow what would you do?
- When were you the happiest (sad) (bored) (angry) today?
- Did someone help you today? …What did they help you with?
- Did you help someone today? Who? …What did you help them with?
- Who can you be friendlier to? …How will you do that?
- Who did you play with today? …What did you do?
- What did you learn about today?
- What would you like to learn about tomorrow?
- Did you (paint) (read) (count) (draw) today? …Tell me more.