Talking With Your Kids About School

By Paul and Christi Watson.

Talking with your kids about school can be one of the most frustrating discussions of the day.

“How was your day?”

“Fine.”

“What did you do?”

“Nothing.”

“Well you have to have done something.”

You get a blank stare.  Sighing to yourself, you might try again, with similar results.  Like many parents, you feel like you can’t communicate with your kids and that you are losing touch.  Whether you have younger children or teenagers, the frustration is the same.

Relax, you aren’t the problem.  The problem is in the questions.

Questions about school need to be as specific as possible.  Your children spent eight hours in seven different subjects.  Few children have the advanced processing skills necessary to summarize that amount of information.  Moreover, if a teacher is doing their job, your child was so engaged in the activity of the day that they may not have been aware of learning anything.  Learning, at its best, is a sub-conscience activity.  If you change the questions, you can change the conversation.

Don’t ask, “What did you learn today?”  Instead ask, “What did you do in [insert subject] today?”  “What are you talking about in [insert subject]?”  “Last week you talked about [insert topic] in [insert class].  This week you learned about [insert topic].  Which do you think is more interesting?  Why?” “Your teacher’s website said you did [insert activity] today.  How did it go?”

As we approach a new school year, make it a priority to connect with your children.  Any sales person can ask general questions. Only you care enough to ask the questions that reveal the unique person your child is becoming.

1 Comment

  1. Good advice! My kids are the masters at not knowing what they did. I’ll be interested to see their responses to the new questions in a few weeks when they start. 🙂

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