At the end of the school day we are curious to know how our child’s day has been. We are keen to find out what they have learnt, who they have played with, what they had for lunch and if they had a good day. Too often though, children choose not to tell. The only answers that are forthcoming are “Not much,” “Nothing” and “I can’t remember.” Here are some ways to engage them so that they are keen rather to share their news and invite you into the hidden-world of their school-life.
- Ask your child what their three favourite moments of the day were. It was their day, so if they say lunchtime or playtime, that’s ok. Remember also, that some days at school can be tough days. If they can’t think of any favourite moments, ask them for three things that would have improved their day. If you feel you need to share this with their teacher, do so.
- Ask your child who made them laugh today. This gives you a whole different perspective and usually a great moment to hear about.
- Your child may need a break before they tell you about their day. If they don’t want to tell you about school on the journey home, let them have a snack, a play or a rest first and ask them all about it later in the evening.
- Turn off your phone or the music in the car as you travel home. Create and give the time to listen to your child. If they feel that you are genuinely interested they are much more likely to share with you. If the conversation on the way home just feels like an interrogation to find out if they were good and if they worked hard, why on earth would they choose to talk to you?
- If your children are very competitive they may give you the opposite problem and argue and talk over each other to have their turn at telling you about their day. In this case, ask one to tell you their news and let the other know that it will be their turn when their brother or sister has finished. If the competition then leads to one telling long-winded stories to stop the other having a turn, give them 5 minutes each or let them each tell you one piece of news at a time, taking turns to have their time to talk.
Originally published in the Croydon Advertiser on 10th May 2013
If you have any methods that really work for your children, please share them in the comments box below, and thank you in advance for sharing with us all.