“Hi honey, how was school?”
I’m sure you’ve heard this one one too many times. In your efforts to ask about your child’s day, the most common response is a one word answer; sometimes getting a single word out of them is a win! Yet, as a parent, every moment matters.
Even if your child doesn’t initially respond, you can still find ways to have some time with them. Talking to your kids about their school day can be a great way to bond with them. To avoid the dreaded one word answers, here are some tips for engaging with your kids about their school day:
Ask Open-Ended Questions
Avoid asking questions that can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no.” Instead, ask open-ended questions that encourage your child to share more about their day. For example, “What was the best thing that happened at school today?” or “What did you learn in math class today?” To get them to think, try asking creative, sillier questions like “what was your favorite word of the day?” This will cause them to think and take the monotony out of the daily check-ins.
A lot of children will immediately shut off when they notice a parent on his or her phone or distracted by siblings or the next task. Let your child know that you are genuinely interested in hearing about their day. Listen actively and ask follow-up questions to show that you are paying attention.
The one word answers are inevitable time and again. Don’t be discouraged if your child seems disinterested but keep showing engagement day after day. Give them some space and time to relax before starting a conversation about their day and don’t be discouraged when it doesn’t go like you hoped.
Share About Your Day
Don’t be afraid to share about your own day or experiences, as this can help your child feel more comfortable and open up more to you. When you let your child a little more into your world, the more they’ll let you into theirs.
Learn to Listen
Learn to “listen” with all your senses. While your child may not always want to communicate with words, their body language and affect are actually telling their story. Be curious, be respectful, and be a safe place to be heard.
Keep leaning into these little moments to connect with your child – and remember that in parenting, the little steps matter. While a daily 3 minute conversation may not be substantial to you, the consistency of those 3 minute conversations may mean a lot to your child. Keep showing up and engaging in their life, even if you don’t see the results right away.
If you need more support on connecting with your child, contact Decade2Connect today!