How to get kids to talk about their day with you
Getting your child to talk to you about his or her day is important for many reasons. Find out what these reasons are, and how to encourage your child to talk to you... keep reading!
When kids are small, they generally don’t stop talking and asking questions. You only need to be around a 4-year-old to know this is true. But as they start growing older and going to school, the chatter lessens and on some days it can be near impossible to get a word out of them.
Getting your kids to talk about their day with you is important. All parents want to know if their child has been happy at school. If they had to sit in the ‘thinking chair’ and why. If they played with their friends or not. You want to know if your child’s friends talked to him that day, or if your child is being bullied… the list is endless!
Encouraging your kids to talk about their day with you is also important in maintaining open communication channels with them through their childhood and into young adulthood.
As your child grows, he should feel secure enough to tell you if he has any problems – and he will, if those channels of communication have been nurtured from the time he was small. Wouldn’t it be great if your older kid felt comfortable talking with you about bullying, drug abuse or sex, rather than hiding everything from you?
Ask open-ended questions
Instead of asking your kids questions that can be answered with a single word, such as, “How was school?”, get kids to talk about their day by asking them open-ended questions such as , “That’s a beautiful painting. Can you tell me about it?”, or, “Tell me about what games you played with your friends today.” Such questions encourage a child to think about their day and talk to you in detail.
Know their school timetable
This way, you can start talking about computer class, library day or gym. For example, if your child has borrowed some books from the school library, sit down with her, ask her why she chose those particular books and read them with her.
Have a dedicated ‘talk-time’ each day
This could be at meal-time or just time after school/preschool when you sit down with your child and talk about his day. Ensure there are no distractions – electronic gadgets being the worst culprits! You could even chat over play-time as kids are more likely to talk to you when they’re doing something fun with you. You’ll see how this works as your child grows into a teenager who may be much more reluctant to talk than a chatty preschooler. Taking a walk together, going for a drive in the car or taking part in an activity your teen enjoys will give you a golden opportunity to talk.
Model healthy communication
Try saying to your spouse, “Guess what I did/learnt today”, and talk with him/her about what you did during the day in front of your child. By having animated, easy and open discussions with your partner, your child will learn that this is the norm and won’t hesitate to jump in with details about his or her own day. Experts say that communication is learned and children who come from homes where they don’t have people who communicate regularly with them may speak less.
Recognise a quiet child vs. one who is struggling
Some kids are just naturally quiet. According to experts, red flags that there may be a deeper problem include when your child suddenly loses interest in things she used to enjoy, experiences a sudden change in friends or has no friends, or suddenly become sullen or irritable. Also, if your normally talkative child suddenly doesn’t want to talk you about her day, there may be a problem, such as bullying.
Listen to your child
Once kids get into the habit of talking to you, try to refrain from asking too many questions and just listen to them with genuine interest as they talk. A child gains confidence when they know you are really interested in what they have to say. If your child wants to talk to you while you are busy, take a break and listen to them.
How do you get kids to talk about their day with you? Share your experience with us by leaving a comment!