By Mimi Greenwood Knight
This year, your child can spend nearly 1,500 hours away from you at school. If they’re like most kids, it can be hard to get them talking about all that goes on while you’re apart. Use these tips to help get the communication lines flowing.
- Know their School Schedule
Knowing what they do each day means you can ask younger kids about show and tell or library day or older kids about topics being covered as outlined by their teacher’s syllabus.
- Use their Take-Home Work to Generate Conversations
Showing interest in a child’s work can increase their self-esteem. Offering to help study with an older child or commenting positively on the artwork of a younger child can help foster a link between school and home.
- Follow Their Lead
Some kids aren’t ready to talk immediately after school, but will open up once they’ve had time to relax, have a snack, and process their day. Bedtime is also a good time for a relaxed chat.
- Ask Open-Ended Questions
Rather than, “How was school today?” try saying, “Tell me about the game you played at recess,” or “What are y’all doing in gym now?”
- Learn Together
Spend time together doing Internet research on the topics they’re learning about that interest them. You can learn new facts your child can take to school and may even be able to find movies or documentaries on the subject to watch together.
- Share Your Own Day
If you had a lousy day, make an age-appropriate comment about it. If you met a new coworker or conquered a new challenge, tell your child about that. Discussing your own trials and successes, will model for your child a relationship where you share what happened, when you were apart.
- Listen, Listen, and Listen
Once your child gets started talking about their day, hold your questions and just let them talk. And don’t let sharing turn into lecture time, or they may hesitate to share the next time.