Do you feel frustrated that your child/children don't tell you much. Perhaps the problem is the question that you are asking.
“How was your day?” you ask.
Most common response? “Fine”. Sound familiar?
Here’s how you can have more informative conversations with your kids after school.
1. Accept that sometimes they just don't feel like talking
When your child gets out of school, it's quite possible that they are exhausted. Chatting with you may be the last thing they want to do. Use your perception to read their signals. If they looked like they need some downtime, allow this and don't pressure them.
2. Tell your kids about your day
On the ride home from school, instead of asking the kids how their day was, I’d offer information about my day. Soon enough they wi;; start to ask about your day and this in turn, will enable you to ask about their day.
3. Hangry Kids won't tell you anything.
Hangry is a physical sensation, related to a drop in blood sugar which changes your child’s mood, sometimes very quickly.
It’s not to be confused with head hunger, or the thinking that you’re hungry. In this case, the body isn’t sending the appetite signals.
When your child is experiencing these emotions, don't demand that they talk to you.
4. Bedtime chats
If you’re looking to have a good conversation with your little ones, catch them at a good time. Most kids love to procrastinate at bedtime and are often revived after a good dinner and evening bath or shower. Right after stories before you tuck them in is when a lot of kids will be happier to prolong staying awake and will generally offer up some insights into their day. If this technique works you could always make bedtime a little earlier to account for this golden time.
5. Ask open ended questions!
To be fair, if you want better answers sometimes it boils down to the questions you are asking. “How was your day?” was never going to lead to more than a one-word answer.
Below are some alternative questions that may lead to a more fulfilling parent-child conversation.
15 questions to ask your child after school
- Who did you play with at lunch time?
- How did someone fill your bucket today?
- Are you having trouble with anyone at school?
- What did you do that was really fun?
- What was your favourite subject?
- What was the best thing that happened today?
- Who did you sit with at lunch/snacktime?
- Did anyone have trouble with following the class rules today?
- What rule did you think was the hardest to follow?
- Did you learn something new?
- What was your least favourite part of the day?
- What did you do in PE class?
- Did you sing any fun songs in Music lesson? Can you teach me?
- Did you do anything that made you proud?
- If you were class teacher what would you teach the kids?
As a parent it is incredibly important to have an open relationship with your child. You are their friend and their parent. I recall always having a lovely relationship with my Mum and because she took the time to ask these questions in my younger years, I shared everything with her when I became a teenager. Best the person your child turns to.