“How was your day?” I used to ask Sophia as soon as she walked off the school bus.
“Good!” was probably the most common response she gave me before running off to play with her brother.
Good? That’s all she had to say after being at school all day? I wanted details. Was math hard today? Did she like her lunch? What did she play at recess? I tried to ask more questions to drag more details out of her. And only got one or two word answers. Eventually I gave up. I’ve learned that bombarding her with questions immediately after school isn’t effective.
My “How was your day” tactic has changed. Just like my husband needs to decompress from work when he walks through the door, the kids need a little off time after school. They’re exercising their brains all day in the classroom and the bus ride home can get very loud and overwhelming. I allow them time to run around and just let off some steam. Then it’s time for homework.
This year she’s headed to 4th grade and Jaxson starts kindergarten. While I will revel in the glory of having all day to myself, I’m excited to hear about their school day. Instead of jumping on them as they hop off the bus, I only ask, “Did you have a good day?”
Honestly, that’s what is most important to me at the bus stop. For details, I save the conversation for dinner or right before bedtime. After trial and error, I’ve learned that’s when my kids truly open up.
Dinner time conversations: We try our best to sit down for family dinner whenever possible. No matter what, we play the “What was your favorite part of the day?” game. It’s so ingrained during dinner that if I forget, Jaxson brings it up. So we go around the table and share our favorite part of the day. Not only will the kids share details about their favorite thing, but I get a glimpse into what makes them happy.
Bed time talk: For some reason, tuck-in time is when Jaxson shares his innermost thoughts and fears. Sometimes he asks me crazy questions such as “How come there were no people during the dinosaurs?” Other times he’ll tell me about a nightmare he has. My husband and I try to make time each night with the kids for a cuddle and chat. It doesn’t happen every night. Sometimes my husband and I are just mentally exhausted. Or the kids are too tired or not very chatty. But we do make time for a quick cuddle before tucking them in.
I savor moments like these as my kids grow.
Their worries will change as they mature. But laying the foundation for a safe environment to share their worries and thoughts are important now. Sophia will start middle school in just two short years. She’ll be a teenager in three years. I want her to feel comfortable to go to me or her father if she’s being bullied or a friend pressures her to do something she doesn’t want to do.
I’m making a pledge to stop pestering them after school and wait until dinner or bed time to ask for details.
Responsibility.org has a really cool video on the importance of talking to our kids. Take a look.
How do you get your kids to talk about their day?
I am compensated for my participation as a #TalkEarly blogger.