02 May 5 Questions to Get Your Kid Talking About Their School Day
Blog by: Courtney Rasche, Kentucky Youth Advocates
Summer is almost here! But first, we have to get through the end of the school year stressors. Having a conversation with our children after every school day is a great way to not only find out what they are learning and working on, but also if something is bothering them or bringing them unusual stress. As every parent knows, sometimes getting them to SPILL IT is half the battle!
Here are five questions to ask your child to get the conversation going:
- Did any of your classmates do something funny today? Who and what was it?
- What was one way that you were kind to someone else?
- Who was your favorite friend today? Why?
- What was the most challenging thing you had to do today?
- What was one thing that upset you?
Starting with a lighter question will get their minds replaying the day so they will be more mentally prepared for tougher question. The questions are open-ended to encourage them to share more. By asking if anything upset them, they could say “no” instead of sharing that they ran out of their favorite dessert at lunch, or a friend said something mean to/about them, or a particular subject is unusually difficult right now. Whatever they disclose to you, do not discount it! Take a deep breath before responding.
When you are building trust with your child and letting them know they can come to you to talk about things that happen at school, it is so important to validate their feelings. Telling them things like “don’t worry about it”, “that’s not even a big deal”, “you’re overreacting”, or “you’re just being dramatic”, will make them shut down and not feel as open to talking to you in the future.
Instead, take a few deep breaths and ask for more information to try and understand why that particular thing upset them. Work together to form a plan so they know how to address it in the future. Giving your child ideas for solutions and letting them choose which sounds best is a great tool. It allows them to have some control over the situation and to build confidence in knowing they will be able to handle it in the future.
These questions are great for all school-aged children — even for high-schoolers! Parenting is hard and can be extra difficult when our children are having a rough time at school. Letting them know you are always there to listen is a great start to a trusting relationship.