“So, how was school today?”
“What did you do?”
“I don’t remember.”
Ring a bell? As a parent, you’re naturally inclined to see how your child’s day went. However, it’s not as easy as asking the obvious question “how was your day”. It’s a common struggle get your children to engage in a meaningful conversation.
Here are 5 ways to help get your child chatting about their day:
1. Give them time to unwind
Your children might not be ready to talk about their day as soon as they get home. Remember, they’ve had a full day of classes and social interactions – so they can be tired. Give them time to relax and process their day. Understand your child’s routine and determine the best time to engage them in conversation.
2. Be attentive and ready to listen
Now, this is crucial. When your child starts opening up about their day, give them your full attention. When your child is ready to talk, don’t be on your phone, watching TV or even washing dishes. Give them your undivided attention and show them that you value what they have to say.
3. Ask open-ended questions
Don’t want a yes/no answer to your question? Try asking open-ended questions that your child can respond to with more than a handful of words. To keep the conversation going, continue to ask follow up open-ended questions. Here are some open-ended questions:
- What’s the best/worst thing that happened at school today?
- What’s one thing you learned at school today?
- What was your favorite part of lunch/recess?
4. Get specific
Know their schedule, this helps start a conversation. For example, if you know they had PE on their schedule today – ask them “what sport did you play in PE?” You can ask about specific subjects to see what they’re learning. Knowing their schedule shows you care and you’re truly interested in what’s going on in their lives.
5. Tell them about your day
You’re the role model so they look up to you. Tell them about how your day went and answer questions the way you’d want your children to. Share your interests, hobbies, friends, struggles, and joys. It’s a special thing when your child begins to ask how your day was.
Every child is different and it’s important to take the time to understand which techniques work best. As you get the conversation going, you’ll begin to have truly meaningful chats.
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