Figuring out what your little one did in school is one of the greatest puzzles. It’s most certainly on a need to know basis, though, as most of us get the usual grunts when we ask them how our kids’ day was.
They often come back with mono-syllabic answers or utterly devoid of details with "fine", "can’t remember" or "nothing happened". It’s pretty unlikely that the school day was lacking in any excitement; but, it’s highly likely that when they walk out of the school gate, they are coming down from a day of intense overwhelm. So, how can we encourage our kids to talk to us about their day in more detail?
Give Them Space
Rather than bombarding them with questions and demands, give them some breathing room as they decompress from their long and exhausting day. They have spent the day in a rigid mental space by adhering to the school rules, maintaining their attention, and working hard. They need to unwind and restore their energy before they can seep out of school life. A snack and a run around does wonders for our kid’s willingness to unveil their day.
Make Questions Specific
When they are ready to give you their time and attention, avoid asking open and extensive questions such as, "How was your day?" The question is too broad, and you’re likely to hear a simple "fine" in response. Instead, make your questions more specific so that answers are more detailed while encouraging lead on questions or details to flow the conversation. For example, on PE day, you could start a chat with, "What games did you play in PE today?" Then, you can ask questions about who was on their team, did the teacher play, and what sport they enjoyed playing most.
Sharing Is Caring
We can share our day with our little one’s, so they learn to model our behaviour through engagement and conversation. For example, give them anecdotes about work colleagues or something interesting about your workday. When we share and then ask them questions about their day, our kids learn about what we are interested in discovering about them. They also learn how to think about their day and relay it to us.
It may take an hour or two, but when the timing is correct, we can ask the right questions and hopefully, our kids will be receptive to talking about their day. When this happens, make sure you give them your full attention and listen attentively. So, put your phone down, turn off the TV, and listen entirely.