What Did You Do At School Today
The answer? Almost always, ‘nothing.’ Not ‘we studied electricity and made these tiny little conductors and my light bulb lit up on the first try!’ Or ‘I got a 95 out of 100 on my spelling test and the teacher told me I could read the extra credit question.’ Or even, ‘I didn’t get a hole in my pants at recess today, so there’s that.’. Nada. And really, it’s not that different than when we were in school, right? Didn’t we say the same thing? Didn’t we save the best things for ourselves, running over them in our minds as we lie in bed at night staring at the ceiling, thinking about the boy who sat one seat over and two seats back who was the fastest runner in the 4th grade and the one with the best hair, hands down. Sometimes we shared these things as we were being tucked in or sitting with our siblings, drowsy enough to let down our defenses and in the company of our very favorite people. But at the risk of being helicopter parents (you really don’t want to go there, here’s why from Parents.com), we want to make sure we’re there for our kids. Not hovering, but here when they need us to talk about the tough stuff and the triumphs and letdowns and most embarrassing moments. Because this is serious stuff. Why else would we still remember it all these years later? So we stumbled upon this great list we wanted to pass along called 25 Ways To Ask Your Kids “So how was school today?” Without Asking Them “So how was school today?” fromSimpleSimonandCo.com. The idea is to ask creative, engaging questions that make it easier-and more fun-for your kids, and any kid to talk about their day. Questions like “If I called your teacher tonight what would she tell me about you?” or “What was your favorite part of lunch?” And non-questions like “Tell me something good that happened today” or “Tell me a weird word that you heard today. (Or something weird that someone said today.)” We’ve also heard some other good suggestions from parent friends, including: 1. Ask questions over food. There’s nothing like a snack to put you at ease and mark the transition from school day to a little down time at home. Kids (and people in general) are more inclined to share their feelings when they feel safe, secure and comfortable. 2. Tell them a little about your day. And don’t gloss over the mistakes. We want to set a good example for our kids, but pretending we’re perfect isn’t doing anyone any favors. Share a little about your day, the victory at work on your latest project and even the way you lost your cool in traffic . . . then took a deep breath and cranked your favorite tunes to relax. Your kids might feel like they have permission to share when they know they’re not the only ones who have their ups and downs. And that it’s OK to share both. 3. Talk in the car. Eye contact is so important, but it can also be intimidating. Which is why talking in the car can be sort of liberating. When your kids can look out the window or fiddle with their seatbelt while they tell you about the boy who put a tomato in their milk at lunch, and what they did about it, they can feel more at ease, almost like they’re thinking out loud. 4. Help them help themselves. We want to frame things in the best way possible, find the bright side and fix everything we can for our kids. But we also want them to be resilient and able to deal with winning and disappointments. So listening is critical. So is listening without judgment. Much, much easier said than done. But if we can help guide our kids to come up with the best ideas, strategies and solutions for their questions, feelings and challenges, then they’ll even better equipped the next time they pop up. 5. Silence is golden. Sometimes bedtime is the best time for your kids to open up. Even without being prompted with a question. When everything is quiet and you’re there for them as always, your kids feel safe and secure, able to confide in you when the day might be running through their minds. We’ve found some of the best discussions have happened by the light of the nightlight. And because we know their answers can be surprising, touching and knee-slappingly hilarious, we love this book for a quick way to keep track of it all.