Friday, 2 March 2012

How was your day ... in more than one grunt?

Kids tend to talk endlessly, or not at all. Trying to get answers out of them can be difficult. Unless you are talking about their favourite topic of the week. So, when it comes to really finding out what they did at school, it pays to have a few tricks up your sleeve.

With the help of my favourite teacher-friend, some websites and trial and error, I have taken on these tricks as regular repertoire at the our dinner table.

Firstly, do not, ever, ask questions they can answer with a simple "yes" or "no". Engage them in conversation and ask questions that require a description/explanation.
I particularly like the following:
  1. What was your favourite part of today?
  2. Who did you play with at lunch?
  3. Who made it onto the teacher's naughty or nice lists today?
  4. Which subject is not your favourite right now?
  5. What's the best thing about your teacher?
Or another favourite is comparing an experience. "This happened at work today, has that ever happened at school?"

Of course, you need to constantly tweak your conversations depending on the age of the child, their personality and interests.

Also, some kids like to talk about school on the way home, but others like to have a break and talk later. In our house we like to talk about our day over dinner, and during "wind-down" time between dinner and bedtime.

It is important that you really listen to the answers, and show interest in the topics that they are excited about. Kids can tell from a young age when you aren't listening, but are impressed when you follow-up on a conversation later on, by asking how it's going.

What works in your house? What are your tricks of the trade to find out what your child really does each day at school?