No one learns as much about a subject as one who is forced to teach it. ― Peter Drucker
Sending a child to school is a big deal. Whether your preschooler now goes to elementary school or your middle schooler has advanced a grade, your child is growing and becoming more independent from you. For some, this is a welcome transition, while others wish they could hold on to their child a little longer. Asking your child about their school day is a great way to reconnect at the end of the day. While some of you barely need to ask for details because your loquacious child can’t wait to share every detail with you, others may find that you need to ask more tactical questions to get an answer other than “fine,” in response to “how was your day?”
As I often do, I will share a list of questions that might elicit interesting answers at the end of this message. However, I recently listened to a podcast that suggested a great way to talk to your children after school. Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke of the Two Guys On Your Head podcast suggest asking your child to teach you something that they learned at school. This is such a great idea! By teaching you something, your child will reinforce their learning and you will learn something. You will get to see how your child digests their lessons and what they find interesting. They can share lessons learned in P.E., math, language arts, social studies, etc. Your child will get to be the expert and you will convey to your child how important their learning is to you. If you would like to listen to the specific episode called “Prompting Positivity and Communication” (it’s under 8 minutes… even shorter if you listen at 1.5x speed, as I do), you can find it here.
As promised, below are some questions to try when you speak to your child at the end of the school day. School psychologist Susan Wood prompted a few when she spoke with the faculty about kindness and empathy at our back-to-school meetings. One more piece of advice from Drs. Markman and Duke, “be tenaciously interested.” If your child tries to blow off your questions, persevere and work to get an answer. Show your child that you truly want to know about their day. Let me know how these questions work out, and please try having your child teach you something that they learned.
Gradatim ad Summum, Angi
How you were kind to someone today? Did you see anyone acting kind today? What did they do? Did you see anyone acting unkind? How did you respond? What did you do that you feel good about? What is something nice that someone did for you? What did you do that was creative? What is something that challenged you? What are you reading in school? What is your teacher reading to the class? When did you feel proud? If you could switch seats with anyone in class, who would it be? Why? Did you learn any new words today? What made your teacher smile? What made your teacher frown? What made you laugh? When did you have to make a choice? Did you make a good choice? How did you make that choice? What surprised you today? What are you working on improving? Was anything really easy? Really hard? What was the best part of your day?