Are You Asking Your Kids The Right After-School Questions?
- JWB Post
- October 14, 2015
There are certain days which are very special in a parent’s life. The day the baby is born… the day the baby utters its first word… the day the baby takes its first steps… Anddd, of course, the day when the baby grows old enough to go to school.
As exciting as this day is, it comes with its own set of challenges. Getting up early. Prepping the little one for school. And when they’re actually gone, constantly worrying over what’s happening and what’s not happening. But the toughest of all is when your child is back from school and you’re anticipating a detailed account of the day’s event and he/she utters not a syllable more than ‘Hmmm.’
What does one do then? How does one open the child’s glued lips?
Well, here’s Sonia B., a blogger and mother to 3 little sons, telling us the six miraculous questions to ask your kids after they are back from school. Her personal experience with her kids attests to the reliability of these 6 hacks. Read on:
What did Ms. Micheline talk to you about today? (The name has been changed for anonymity.)
You need to avoid closed-ended, yes or no questions, at all costs. Asking them what their teacher spoke to them about that day forces them to reflect, to look back on their day and think about the various interactions that they had with their teacher.
Result: Those clever kids, who answer with a curt “yes” or “no” when you ask if they had a good day, are going to have to give you a much more detailed and specific answer.
What color was your teacher’s shirt today?
First of all, this will allow you to learn more about the teacher’s fashion choices! In addition, it’s a funny question, a little quirky, that will make your child laugh and loosen them up. It’s the perfect way to set the mood for them to tell you about the rest of their day. Eventually, this will become a ritual; your child may start to think of it as a game. They will start to enjoy noticing what color top their teacher is wearing everyday. And I’m sure that you, too, will find this both fun and hilarious!
Result: A little bit of fun and a small ritual that could come in handy at times when your child doesn’t feel like going to school. Of course, you can choose anything else besides the color of their teacher’s shirt. It’s up to you guys to find out what would be the most fun!
What made you laugh today?
I love this question, but most of all, I love the answers! Because, frankly, most of the time you will only understand half of what your child is saying, and just a quarter of the situation. But it’s truly priceless to watch your child as he recounts –with sparkling eyes–the little adventures and situations that made him laugh at school that day.
Result: They will relive the joyful moments that they had at school, and that make them go to school the next day with a positive outlook.
Who did you play with during recess?
Or, Who did you eat with in the cafeteria? My kids don’t eat in the cafeteria, but if yours do, that works great, too. By asking this question, you will learn more about your child’s friends, both boys and girls. You’ll learn if they usually play with the same people or if they change friends like they change underwear (which is often the case in preschool).
Result: Your child will once again be able to reflect on a specific moment of the day, which will get them to tell you several other stories about their friends at school.
Is there anything bothering you at school right now?
Or, alternatively, Does anything scare your about going to school? Ok, I admit that I don’t ask my kids this question every day, more like once a week, and my little ones don’t really answer it.
But their older brother tends to answer it. He’s not necessarily going to volunteer stories about what things he’s going through at school. I would even say that the opposite is true. But by asking him this question, I help him put his finger on what isn’t making him so happy at school, without making him feel guilty or embarrassed. But be careful: The answers might surprise you!
Result: You show them that they can openly share their problems with you. It can be very reassuring for you to find solutions together.
Is there someone in your class who’s going through a hard time these days?
On one hand, this helps your child concentrate on something other than his or her own problems. On the other hand, I noticed how this question allows my kids to feel more invested in their class and their classmates. For example, when one of them told me that there was a little boy who cried the moment his mother left him at school, I made some suggestions: He could ask him if he wanted to play with him, talk to him, or give him a hug.
Result: This is how I found out that my oldest son regularly gives hugs to a girl in her first year of preschool. What a little devil!
And so, now that they’ve started telling me their stories of the day, I hardly think they’ll be able to stop!