What do your children say when you ask them how their day was at school? “Fine.” “Yeah. Good.” “>grunt<” And when you want to know about their class work or friendships? “Nothing.” “Ok.” There are several articles doing the rounds with some helpful tips on connecting with your children so they’ll open up and share their school world with us. I’d like to add a few more ideas.
Volunteer at school- if you’re in the classroom, on the playground, or on excursions, you will learn the names of teachers and students and be “up” on what’s what at school. Instead of asking general questions, you’ll be able to engage your child in conversation with interesting and relevant starters such as, ‘I saw that Annie had a plaster cast on her arm. What happened?” or “Mrs O was away today. Did you like the substitute?” Children often respond well to such specifics and knowing this level of detail shows your child that his/her world is interesting to you.
Arrange playdates after school, on weekends, or in the holidays. If your home is too small, take the children to a local park, library, pool etc. Get to know your child’s peers so it is easier for your child to talk about them with you and so you can observe any concerning dynamics (eg, is your child hesitant to invite? Why? Is your child a leader or follower in games? Etc.
Try to be at school drop-off or pick several times a week so that you get to know the school community and you see your children with their school mates.
Basically, if you are already in the loop, you will find it much easier to engage your child in conversation and to follow what they are saying. Chatting with you without having to explain who is who etc., is much easier for your child.
This an example of the advice circulating on facebook- useful for many but perhaps not so easy to remember? http://www.huffingtonpost.com/liz-evans/25-ways-to-ask-your-kids-so-how-was-school-today-without-asking-them-so-how-was-school-today_b_5738338.html?ir=Australia