I’m willing to bet that the majority of parents inquire of their children how their day at school was.
I am also willing to wager that 90 per cent of the time parents receive a one-word answer. I don’t actually think that children are trying to be evasive, most of the time, but that it can often have to do more with the types of questions we ask or when we ask them.
If you’re looking for more effective ways to engage your child in conversations about school, a few of these simple tips might help.
First off, it’s important to read your child on what the best time for the conversation is. If you have a young student who is bursting at the seams to share with you as soon as you get home, try to set up your day so that as soon as you see them there is room for that dialogue.
If, however, you perhaps have a teenager who comes home exhausted and genuinely tired of answering questions, it would be a good idea to give them some space and bring up the conversation over supper or later in the evening.
When asking our children questions, I think we’ll find that a simple, “How was your day?” is quite vague and leaves a lot of room for vague answers. Here are a few questions to hopefully get the dialogue going.
*What was your favourite part about school today?
*If you could do a moment of school over again, what would it look like?
*What’s the most interesting thing you heard today?
*What made you laugh/worry/smile in school today?
*What do you appreciate most about your teacher?
*Who at school made your day better?
*Was there anything you learned today that you really want to learn more about?
Even with these questions, you still might run into resistance or one-word answers, but if I learned anything from teaching middle years, it’s that you have to be prepared to wait for an answer longer than they’re prepared to hold out giving it!