Remember when your kids were little and wouldn’t stop talking?
I admit, there were days when I succumbed to preparing dinner with headphones on… volume set just loud enough to drown out the non-stop voices, yet soft enough to hear if anyone were to scream.
I just needed some quiet time, some “no listening” time.
Fast forward to today, those little kids are in school listening and answering questions all day. The tables have turned. Now they come home from school wanting some “no listening” time.
Your first step is to not rush in. Conversations can’t be forced. Give them some time. We’re all more receptive to people who recognize and honour our needs.
Next, if you want your kids to talk about their day, go first and share something from your day: something you learned, something funny you heard or witnessed, someone you bumped into, details about a project you’re working on, or plans you made.
And finally, be specific with your questions. Parents hoping for a window into their child’s day often ask open-ended questions “Tell me about your day”, “How was your day?” or “Anything interesting happen today at school?” I recommend asking more specific questions. Choose two or three from the list below…
“Did anyone do anything funny today? Tell me about it.”
“Who did you play with at recess? What games did you play? I don’t know that game, how does it work?”
“What was the best part of your day?”
“What was the hardest part of your day?”
“What book is your class reading? Tell me about the story.”
“What did you learn today that you never knew before?”
“Who did you sit with at lunch time?”
“What food did your friends bring that you wished you had?”
“What is the first thing you did when you got to class?”
“If I asked your teacher about her day, what do you think she would tell me?”
- Give them time
- Share something about your day
- Ask a few specific questions
And remember, next time they plop down beside you when you are resting or engaged in your own activity, pay attention, they are saying they need you. The more you are there for them in these moments, the more they will share with you in general.