Trying to download information from a preschooler or school goer can often feel like pulling teeth whilst ending up with no teeth!!
Expectations – First port of call manage them! A preschoolers vocabulary in general can be quiet limited, not to mention their recall and use of descriptive language, therefore its important to not expect too much too soon. In my experience if you push it too much and make it a daily interrogation children will quite cleverly develop a scripted response defaulting on the same answer daily to hopefully complete the experience as quickly as possible.
Differentiate – Remember to approach each child individually. Some love to debrief and spill the beans on themselves and everyone else. Others process the day and themselves differently. Allow for that and avoid comparison. Avoid deciding one way is better or more positive than the other, its just their way and thats ok.
Environment – Some need face to face conversation, eye contact down to their level. Some prefer less confrontational and in the car is their spot to spill. If your hoping to chat tune into that and provide their environment of choice for the best results. I’ve one man who needs the radio off and silence from me and I’ll get the day hour by hour including a conclusion of “so Mom it was my best day” or the opposite as the case maybe!
The Parent Trap – Feeding the child information you assume or decide yourself. We’ve all done it, right? Tell me I’m not kn my own? Be mindful that a child’s world and perception of events is often very different to ours let them tell a story avoid jumping in and making your own of it. Small children in particular are possibly likely to nod or agree with your additions potentially based on your reaction rather than the facts involved.
Limits – Last but not least keep it to one or two questions and leave it at that you want to be a conscious and caring parent, me too i totally get it! You want them to know the floor is open, I’m here to listen and you can tell me whatever you need to but sometimes wishing and trying to execute that can turn us into detectives. I’ve put together some helpful suggestions to maybe open up the conversation a little bit further than “how was your day?”…. “Fine” but just pick one or two off the list every day and see if they suit your style of parenting or perhaps help that post school debrief.
Who was funny in school today?
Was anybody kind today?
What did you laugh at today?
Try anything new today?
What were you proud of today?
Did you learn a new song today?
Did you try anything tricky or difficult today?
Did you help anyone today?
Did you smile at anyone today?
What didn’t you like in your lunch?
What game did you enjoy or dislike in the yard?
What was your favourite lesson in class?
What did you not enjoy today?
Did you have to be brave today?
You get the idea and I’m sure you’ll come up with plenty of your own and more suiting to your own parenting style.
Most importantly take their word for it especially when they are young if they say they had a good day accept it, trust it and enjoy having a contented child the bad days will come too.