The time has come where we are all mourning summer’s end. Sleeping in and careless days have come to a screeching halt and the school year has officially begun. Children may still be feeling anxious about what the school year will bring, and parents are trying their best to make it go as smoothly as possible.
September is inevitably a time of change. The leaves begin to change colors, eventually falling to the ground, and kids begin to get settled into their new school routines and begin establishing themselves. It seems during these times of change, there are so many questions that are left unanswered: How long is it going to take to get settled into our new school? How will our children adjust to their new teacher? What did my child do throughout the day? Will my child stand up for their peer who may be getting picked on? How does my child feel about school?
It’s natural for parents to worry and be curious about their child’s school day and long to know every detail. Unfortunately, when you ask your child those simple questions, you often get the same responses: the dreaded “I dunno,” “I don’t remember,” or “It was fine.”
Here are 4 helpful strategies to get your children talking and to hopefully get the answers you’ve been wanting to hear.
- Decrease the amount of direct questions! Asking questions naturally brings a sense of pressure and urgency to anyone, but especially children. They know they need to respond, and sometimes that pressure is just enough to make them not want to reply.
- Make statements! Describe how you think they may be feeling or talk about what you are seeing. If your child didn’t eat some of their lunch try saying, “Oh, you must not have been hungry today because you didn’t eat your sandwich.” This will entice them to share why they didn’t eat their sandwich.
- Make comments about your day! “Work went really well today and I felt great about the presentation I gave.” When you openly share about your day, you are providing your child with a model on how to share about their day. Not only does this show them how to openly share, but it may even naturally motivate them to do so.
- Ask open-ended questions! You will have more success getting responses out of your children when you ask questions like, “Who did you play with today?” or “Why were you feeling sad when I picked you up?” Open-ended questions give your children space to respond how they would like to respond without feeling like there’s a particular answer you want to hear. Open-ended questions will also usually prompt your child to elaborate and not just give you a simple “yes” or “no” response.
We hope that these strategies will get your child talking about their day and that you will begin to get the answers you’ve been waiting to hear.