Most parents often find themselves asking their kids just one single question as soon as they get home from school – “How was school?” It’s only natural for parents to want to find out everything that’s happening in their children’s lives. But asking this question may not be the best way to do it. In fact, many of the kids who are asked, end up becoming defensive or intimidated.
Do you see yourself in a similar situation? Do you want some tips on how to talk to kids so they open up? Read on to find some helpful suggestions that may help.
Timing is Everything
When your child gets home from school, they’re usually tired and just want to wind down and relax. So right after school usually isn’t the best time to ask about their day. They won’t want to think of an answer and would most likely respond with “fine” or “nothing”. Use a more relaxed approach when connecting with your child. Be considerate and aware of how they’re feeling. Instead of bugging them with questions about school, give them a warm welcome and tell them you’ve got some snacks ready? Be with them and let them enjoy their food silently if they wish. You don’t have to do or say anything.
Ask alternative questions
Aside from the usual “how was school today” question, there are several other questions you can ask to learn about your child’s day at school. Ask open ended and more interesting questions that will direct the conversation. Ask questions like “what’s the most exciting thing that happened in school today?” or “did anything happen on the playground today that made you laugh?” Understand that not all kids are comfortable talking and opening up. But when you maintain your presence around them and they feel relaxed and not threatened, they will learn to open up without you having to ask.
Share something about your day
Another excellent way to stimulate a conversation about school is by sharing something that happened during your day. Tell them about some interesting or fun experiences you had at work, or if you went out on lunch with a friend, or saw something amusing on your way home. Doing this is an excellent way to encourage a natural conversation to flow.
Use their take-home papers to kick start the conversation
When children bring their masterpieces home, like art projects and school papers, take advantage of these items to initiate a conversation. Ask open ended questions about their work and make sure to pay attention. Show interest as they tell you about it and give them affirmation. This will not only give them the confidence they need to open up to you, it will also boost their self-esteem and inspire them to continue doing good at school.
Know their school schedule
Knowing the events and the schedule of your kids at school can help you formulate the right questions to ask. Find out when they do their PE, library day, science class and so on. So for example, you can ask them about the book their librarian shared with them at school. You can ask them if they have chosen a favorite book and what it is about. Affirm their choice and inspire them to do more reading.
Breakfast is a good time to talk about school
Having the family gathered around the table is a great way to share joys, happy and even bad experiences. Mornings can be an excellent time because your kids have had time to rest and are likely to be in a good mood. While evenings or dinner time is also a good time to discuss the school day, it might not be a perfect time for asking questions if your kids are tired from school.
It may be a real challenge to encourage your children to open up and share information about school. But with the help of these tips, you’ll find that it’s actually doable. Looking for a school that focuses on a child’s holistic development? Please consider our Colorado Springs preschool.