September 5, 2015
You are very excited about this new venture, and the students are too. When you pick them up at the end of the day, I want to challenge you to NOT ask any of these questions:
— How was your day?
— What did you do today?
— What did you learn today?
In fact, don’t ask ANY questions at all.
Why don’t I want you to ask questions? First, peppering kids with questions tends to shut them down. And, it means YOU are directing the topic of the conversation, not them. They might want to tell you about their new friend, but because you asked a different question, they have to answer that instead.
— I’m so happy to see you!
— I’m excited to hear what you want to tell me.
— Hello! I love you. 🙂
And when they start talking, your job is to listen with attention. Instead of absent-minded, “Uh huh,” say things that show you are focused on them. Such as, “That must have made you feel excited,” or, “You made four art projects in one day?” Don’t take over, just listen. Really listen.
What do you do if your child doesn’t tell you anything? Well, you can just be patient. You don’t NEED to know what they did and who they did it with. Your overall relationship with your child is more important than hearing about the details of their day. And they will feel respected because you are giving them the space open up as they are ready.
You can also do a dinnertime question that everyone answers, including parents. Such as, “What stood out to you today?” “What are three good things that happened today?” or “What were your high and low points today?” Dinner is a good time since the kids will have had a couple of hours to process and reflect on their day, and since everyone is answering the question, they won’t feel as though they are receiving the third degree.
I know that this first week will be exciting and full. Don’t be surprised if your child bubbles over with information. But, also don’t be surprised if they choose to process it internally, and only share with you when they are ready.
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