Photo by Caroline Hernandez on Unsplash

 

Dr. Amy Fortney ParksOwner of The Wise Family:

If you are like most parents, you get frustrated with the lack of information relayed to you from your kids. Guess what? You are not alone there! Our team of therapists have put together some great suggestions on how to get your kids to tell you how their day was.

Check out the below tips from the Wise Ones here at The Wise Family.

 

Kasey Cain, Resident in Counseling – Therapist for The Wise Family: 

Take a moment to imagine the following scene:

Child just getting home/picked up from school
Adult: “Hi sweetheart. How was your day at school?”
Child: :::Blank stare:::
Adult: “Did you have a good day? What did you learn today?”
Child: :::Still Nothing:::
Adult: “Are you okay?”
Child: “I’m fine!” :::Storms to room and shuts door firmly:::

This was probably not a difficult scene to imagine as it plays out daily across the country. Parents crave information on their children’s daily lives while kids crave independence and privacy. Additionally, when a child returns home from school it is important to remember they have just put in a full day of work. They are tired, just like we are after putting in a full day, and may want some time to decompress and relax. Too often, children get bombarded with questions and demands – “How are you?” “Do you have homework?”, “Don’t forget to hurry up and get ready for dance class!”

When your kiddo gets home (or when you do) let them know you are happy to see them. When conversation does occur be creative in your questions. One of my favorite lists came from an article I read recently (50 Fun Questions to Get Your Kid Talking). As the article states “Don’t worry if your child isn’t initially excited about answering your questions – and don’t rush him/her to answer or move to another one too quickly.”

If you have relayed that you are caring, interested, and available, you have succeeded in positively supporting your child.

Dr. Dominique AdkinsEdD – Therapist for The Wise Family: 

When attempting to communicate with your teen in a meaningful manner always keep in mind the importance of open ended questions. The closed ended questions such as “Did you have a good day at school?” can lead to an automatic yes or no. If your question starts with “What”, “How”, “When”, “Who”, or “Where” you are off to a good start.

Also keep the questions to a minimum and listen. While it may seem like questions are the only way to elicit information there are other avenues. Remember this is not an interrogation. Stay present and describe what you see in your teen’s body language and facial expressions. If your teen looks upset or happy share your visual observations with them. You will be surprised by their response even though technically a question has not been asked.

Finally, be sure to remain in the moment and remove any possible distractions when trying to communicate.

 

Amanda Beyland, LCSW – Therapist for The Wise Family: 

How was your day can be a tough question to answer, even for adults, but it’s also easy to answer with one word. Kids spend a large portion of their days at school and we don’t want to miss out on anything. So, as parents, how can you get your child tell you about their day in more than one word?

Try to focus on the things they may be most willing to share about school in order to get the conversation started. These questions could be something specific like what was the best game at recess today or broad like what was the most exciting part of your day. Instead of asking specific questions about their classmates or peers try questions like “did anyone make you laugh today?” or “who did you eat lunch with today?”.

Give your children a chance to reflect on how they did personally during the day with questions about how they may have helped someone or something they were proud of.

Use open-ended questions, get specific, and be creative!

 

Kelsey Yeager – Therapist for The Wise Family:

The end of the day is a rough time for everyone, including kids. I know I am not always the most talkative at the end of the day, but at the same time I want/expect my kids to be chatty about how their day was at school at the end of their day. “How was your day?” “What did you do?” questions flood most cars at pick up, mine included, when sometimes all kids need is a few minutes and a snack.

But once the hunger has subsided and they’ve had a brain break, how do you get kids to communicate with you as a parent?

Sometimes you just need a little something to get the conversation going. On iMom.com recently, I read a great list of ideas to creatively ask kids about their day. The list included questions that your kiddos most likely would not expect after school such as, “What do you look forward to seeing the most at school each day?”, “Who is the friendliest person in your class?”, and “Who is someone at school who needs a friend?”. The unexpected question gets kids to think differently and poses an open ended question, which can be the gateway into more about the day and how things are going.

Sometimes you just need a little something to get the conversation going. On iMom.com recently, I read a great list of ideas to creatively ask kids about their day. The list included questions that your kiddos most likely would not expect after school such as, “What do you look forward to seeing the most at school each day?”, “Who is the friendliest person in your class?”, and “Who is someone at school who needs a friend?”. The unexpected question gets kids to think differently and poses an open ended question, which can be the gateway into more about the day and how things are going.

Maybe you are not the person picking your child up from school or maybe your little one takes the bus home, the same is true if you have your catch up time at dinner or before bed. Another great way to get kids talking is by making it a game. I often use the “highs and lows” game, which is awesome at dinner time because it gets the whole family involved. Everyone (parents too) goes around the table and tells the best part of the day (high) and the worst/hardest part of the day (low). By having everyone participate in the game the questions are less of a “demand” and more of a conversation among the family.

Get the conversation started!

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