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Many mothers struggle to get their children to tell them about their school day or talk in general about what happens during the day. It is quite common for mothers to hear about school incidents involving their children by accident. However, as a mother, you probably wish your child would recount what happened in their day or inform you when something out of the ordinary happens, especially if it’s their first year at school or they’re quite young.
There are children who are quiet and reserved by nature and are not used to expressing themselves. That makes it difficult for a child to answer when you ask a question as broad as ‘What did you do at school today?’ Or ‘How was school?’ In order to get a bit more details out of them, you should ask your children questions that will help them tell you more about how their day at school went.
In this article, Rahet Bally’s certified positive psychology and parenting coach, Rana Hany, walks us through the best questions to ask your children to help them communicate about their day as well as what to avoid:
Try to stay away from ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions. If you ask a question with a yes or no answer, that’s exactly what you’ll get. You can try to ask questions that will encourage your child to elaborate more about their day such as:
- “What was the best thing you did at school today?”
- “What was the thing that made you laugh the most with your friends today?”
- ”What happened to upset you or made you sad today?”
- “What was the coolest thing you learned today?”
Start your question with a remark
Hany recommends that you should start your question with a remark. For example, instead of asking about the new children in your child’s class this year and they just respond with they’re ok, you can be specific and ask one of the following questions:
- “I heard that there are new children in your class this year, who do you like playing with the most?”
- “I noticed that the schedule today was intense, what was your favourite/least favourite session?”
Avoid acting as a detective
Try to be relaxed when talking to them and avoid making them feel like you’re investigating. You can try to make it lighter by talking about your experiences at that age. Even if you’re aware of incidents that happened at school from your friends or the school admins, try to avoid making them feel you’re always watching them by using phrases such as ‘I know everything,” or “ The bird told me.”
Listen with care
One of the most things that encourage children to speak and make them want to recount their day is when we actually listen with care and focus without cutting them off, give them feedback or remarks on something they said wrong.
Make them feel you’re giving them your full attention and encourage them to continue by responding with “Yes, I understand,” “What happened next?” And “What else?” These cues let them know you’re listening and encourage them to keep going at the same time without interrupting them.
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