It’s the first few days of school, and as a parent, you very well may be itching to know how things are going, what’s being learned, and whether your child is happy. Often times, by merely asking How was school?, the responses you receive may leave you wanting to know more. Read on for tips on how to get your child talking:
Asking specific questions can certainly go a long way toward getting the information you’re mining for. Questions like, What did you do in science class today? or What books did you read today? or Tell me about a math game you played will go much further than how was your day?.
Review Your Child’s Schedule
By knowing which classes your child attends on a specific day, you can more easily tailor your questions. If you know, for example, that your son had library class, ask him what books he took out or why they interested him. If your daughter had gym class, ask her or what games she played or what sports she’s learning about.
Read Up on Curriculum
Some classroom teachers may distribute notes to parents about the curriculum, classroom activities, and what children are currently learning. If not, you can always get a good sense of what’s happening in the class by looking through your child’s homework or projects together. Use whatever information you can to form your questions. What’s the coolest thing you learned about Ancient Mesopotamia? sounds a lot better thanHow was history class?.
Make Sharing Rituals
Set up a tradition or ritual of sharing – in addition to at the dinner or breakfast table, often bedtime is a good time to talk about the school day. Because this is a relaxing time, your child may feel more inclined to talk about her day as you’re cuddling or before or after a goodnight story.
Wait for It
Don’t always ask for and expect an immediate response right when you pick your child up from school or see him for the first time after a long day. All children are different — some need a little space, others are looking to share immediately – so listen for clues as to when they’re ready.
If you try these tips and your child still doesn’t answer any of your questions with more than OK, good, or I don’t know, then wait for him to bring up school and then follow his lead. Also, continue to talk about your day, as the more you do this, the more likely your child will do the same.
Alissa Dufour is the Director of Communications at The Caedmon School. She previously worked staffing high-need NYC public schools through the NYC Teaching Fellows program, and taught in the English Composition and Creative Writing departments at Manhattanville College.
Maria Howard is the Director of the Early Childhood Program at The Caedmon School. She is certified from The Center for Montessori Teacher Education and has worked as a head Montessori teacher in the Los Angeles area and at The Caedmon School.
Lisa Oberstein is the Assistant Head of School at The Caedmon School. She previously served as the Curriculum Coordinator at The Berkeley Carroll School in Brooklyn, and has taught elementary-aged children in New York City, Washington, and in California.
Dr. Angela Seracini
Dr. Angela Seracini is School Psychologist at The Caedmon School. She is a licensed clinical psychologist with 20 years’ experience working with children and families in private practice and in clinical settings. Her specialty areas include Parent Guidance and Support and therapeutic work with young children.