Is after school conversation with your child a tricky prospect? Here’s why it’s important to make the effort, and some great questions to get the banter going.
An after school conversation with your child may seem like a daunting prospect. You’ve navigated the hectic school pick up, you’re tired, your child is tired, and all anyone wants to do is get home and switch off.
Any attempts at repartee are met with nothing more than “Yep”, “I dunno” or the ubiquitous grunt. You quickly change the subject or resort to cracking open the tablet.
So, while it may seem easier to just talk about fun things like what’s for dinner or weekend plans, it’s important to engage with children when they wrap up their school day—and it’s important to do so in a meaningful way.
Whether you’re meeting at the school gate to walk home with them, picking them up in the car, or not seeing them until later that night, it’s imperative you find a little bit of time to ask some thought-provoking questions each day.
Here are the reasons why, as well as some excellent conversation starters you can use with your own children.
Talk isn’t cheap
There are a number of factors that make reflecting on the school day so important. Firstly, children need to know that their parents care about how they felt about school work and what happened in the schoolyard each day. Obviously this will be the case, but the goal should be a child who can’t wait to tell you.
This is only more critical if you’ve got a reluctant learner or someone who is having anxiety about school, which can be a common problem.
Then there are the extreme cases of kids who even feel like you’ve ‘inflicted’ the ordeal of school upon them.
The more enthusiastic you can be (think one rung below Wiggles-level), then it will hopefully go a long way to improving their attitudes about school.
It’s also important for you too! You need to know what’s going on in their days, what they’re learning about, how they’re coping, how they’re interacting with others and, ultimately, how happy they are.
A flying start
Most of the time you’re going to have to initiate the conversation. As we all know, that’s just the nature of talking to children.
You could start off generally with some comments about your own day just to get them to let their guard down; then it’s time to unveil a few questions that will hopefully get them talking.
It’s best if your questions are open-ended, fun, positive and, ultimately, non-confrontational. That way the discussion won’t feel so much like an interrogation or demand for answers.
But these sorts of questions don’t always come easily—especially when you have to think of them on the spot. So, try out a few of these excellent conversation starters and, before you know it, you’ll feel like you were a fly on the wall of your child’s classroom!
- What happened today that made you laugh?
- Which of your classmates would you choose to be your teacher for the day?
- If your teacher was the same age as you, do you think you would be friends?
- If you could get rid of one school rule for the day, what would it be and why?
- What games did you play at lunch?
- What was the favourite thing in your lunch box today?
- How did you help somebody today?
- How did somebody help you today?
- What’s one thing you learned today?
How successful is an after school conversation with your child? Do you have any other tips or suggested questions for other parents? Let us know in the comment section below!