How was your day? What did you do at school? What did you learn today?
It's easy to begin asking questions to children when they get home from school.
More often than not, children may respond with: "Fine. Nothing. I don't know."
Dr. Lisa Counts, assistant superintendent supervision of schools, visits Rockwood schools regularly. "I know there are wonderful things happening in our classrooms and schools," she says. "As parents we need to try a different approach to connect with our kids, if those questions aren't working." She offers the following suggestions for parents.
It's a matter of timing.
First, parents need to consider what time is best to inquire about their child's day. You'll want to ask during a time when you can give your child your full attention. Many families find those times happen during a relaxing dinner or driving in the car.
Five questions to replace 'How was your day?'
- Were there moments when you felt proud of yourself?
- What was the best thing that happened at school today?
- Did anything happen today that made you laugh?
- Tell me about a conversation with a classmate that you enjoyed.
- Was anyone extra kind today?
- Please don't interrupt. It's important for any conversation, but especially with our children.
- Ask for more. Simply say: "I'd love to hear more about that…" and see where it leads.
- Thank them for sharing. Always appreciate their honesty and willingness to share the highlights, as well as the challenges, of their day.
While these approaches could make for more interesting conversations, it's important to understand that sometimes children don't feel like talking. "It's important to be respectful," noted Dr. Counts. "It lets them know they have a voice, and we are listening."