"How was your day?"
"Did you do anything fun?"
"Ummmm... let me think... I don't remember."
Sound familiar?This has been my life for most of the school year. And quite frankly, it was driving me crazy. Was school so bad that she didn't want to talk about it? No, that wasn't the case. Was she bored and just wasting her time there all day? No, that wasn't it either. You know what the problem was? I was asking the wrong questions.
How could I get her to talk? I asked everyone. I posted the question on-line. I looked for blog posts that had suggestions. Everyone had different opinions, but there was one key thing they all mentioned and it was the one thing I was doing wrong.
Ask about the details. My questions were too vague. Of course my 6-year-old wasn't going to give me the answers I was looking for if I didn't help her out a little bit. I know a bit about her day. I know when she has art and when she has music. I know the subjects that are covered each and every day. I know that her teacher reads chapter books to the class and that each student keeps a science journal and a reading journal. I'm sure you know basic ideas about your child's day too.
The key is asking detailed questions to get them talking about their day.
So what can you ask? Here are some sample questions to get you started.
- Who did you sit by at lunch?
- Who did you play with at recess?
- What did you do in P.E. (art, music, etc.) today?
- Did anything surprise you today?
- Tell me something nice that you did for someone today. Did someone do something nice for you today?
- What did you write about in your reading journal?
- What book did your teacher read to you today? What do you like about that book?
- What book did YOU read (or listen to) today?
- Did anything make you sad today? Why did that make you sad?
If you know something special is going on at school, make sure and ask questions about it. Recently my daughter participated in Jump Rope for the Heart during school. She loved that I asked about it and very eagerly answered all my questions. We were able to make that connection.
Connecting with your child after school does take some effort. I've learned that if I make the effort, my daughter will meet me half way. I couldn't expect her to automatically tell me everything I needed to know. I learned that detailed questions get better answers. And now, we are making that connection and I love every minute of it.
Do you have any more questions to add to the list? What works for you when making that after school connection?