It’s funny how you spend so much time getting your kids to say their first words. MA-MA. DA-DA. And then when they do start talking, boy it seems they will never stop! They even say things you don’t want them to, like telling everyone when they went potty or your age.
And then – just like that – they go to school and clam up! You go from knowing everything that happens in their life from moment to moment, and then nothing! And you want to know.
Give it time
Many of us are quick out of the gate when meeting back up with our spouses and children at the end of the day. We are, understandably, anxious to hear how it all went. We want to know that everything is actually fine or even better, good. And often times, work went into a project or getting ready for an event and it would be nice to know how it actually went! But slooowwww down! Give your family some time to decompress and unwind when they get home. A little bit of time to get some distance and process the day will help kids be willing and able to communicate.
Homework Time is Primetime
Having a set time to do homework is a good discipline for your kids that will pay dividends throughout their academic and even professional careers. But a hidden benefit is that it facilities discussions. When working on math homework with your child, it is a natural point to ask about what happened in math that day or alternatively you may find your kid naturally talks about the goings on in the class.
Dinnertime is also a good time
Having dinner at a specific time every night and is a good thing to do on its own merit, but like homework time, there are some additional benefits. It is the perfect time – after some unwinding and school work – to discuss the events of the day. Some families use the “hi-lo” approach where everyone in the family takes turns talking about their “hi” moment of the day and “lo” moment of the day.
Be specific every time
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Do you keep asking “How was school today” and keeping getting “Fine” as the answer. Whilst you might not be insane, you are soon going to feel like you are going there fast. Change it up and : What craft did you do in art class today? What book did you read during story time? Who did you play with at recess? How is the new girl getting on? What was the most interesting thing you learned today?
These are great tips for kids of all ages, but do remember that kids so you might need to vary the specifics of your approach. Pre-schoolers, for example, are going to have a widely different set of issues than . Whatever their age, keep at it. It can be frustrating but engaging meaningfully with your kids is not only important for their development but rewarding for you as a parent!