I am the father of two school aged children. My wife and I are always looking for ways to learn more about their life away from us. This becomes especially hard the older they grow. One word answers like, good, fun, boring, and ok are typical responses when we ask them about their school day. We are unable to morph into a fly on the wall of a classroom, so we’ve been looking into various methods of eliciting more details from them at the day’s end. Below are a few strategies I’ve found, some we’ve used, and others we’ve not yet tried. They are all from “Home & School Connection” published by Resources for Educators (2016).
- Eat meals as regularly as possible with your children and family. Breakfast, dinner, whatever works in your schedule. Not only will there be more opportunities for conversation, but there is also evidence that children who regularly eat meals together with their family do better in school and avoid risky behavior.
- Create a paper reminder for each thing your youngster has accomplished on any given day. Place each in a jar or box labeled , “I Did It!” Anytime you need to give him a pick me up, pull a slip out of the box and talk about that time. You can pull them out any time you want to spark up a fun conversation.
- Check out your child’s backpack at the end of the day. See what she brought home. Make comments on her social studies project, ask about the notes on the work made by the teacher, or ask about how she records her daily agenda.
- Ask your child to describe a book he read today. This gives you an idea of what he prefers to read. Follow up by asking what he’d like to read (together or independently) before bed. Trade reading pages to practice reading and listening skills.
- Ask what she’d like to learn more about. Use her interests as a jumping-off point for future activities. If she is interested in the American Revolution, make a point to visit the American Independence Museum in downtown Exeter or take a walk downtown and read the many historical markers together.
- Ask, “What’s the coolest thing that happened to you today? What wasn’t cool?
- Ask how your child would describe the day if he were the teacher.
- Ask, “What made you laugh today?”
- Ask, “What was the most creative thing you did today?”
- Ask, “What was the kindest action you did today?” or “Was anyone kind or helpful to you?”
Have a great weekend! Stay safe and have fun.