I was walking up the lane to collect my child this week and passed three pairs of parents and small children who were just leaving the school gate.
Every parent was asking questions: “What did you do in school today?” “Who did you play with?” “Did you have a nice day?” The children were happily walking along but none of them answered.
Tell them what you did today
When you go to ask that question, try telling your child what you did today instead. “Well, before I went to work I put a load of laundry on. And then the funniest thing happened when I left – I found that glove your brother lost last week. At lunch I had…”
You are demonstrating to your child exactly the kind of response you want to hear from them when you ask a question. Do this often and your child will likely copy you and share a few details of their day afterwards.
“Why doesn’t my child want to tell me about their day?”
Sometimes as I’m running through my day with my son, I find myself thinking “Woah, this is so boring, why would he want to hear about my very ordinary Tuesday?” Well, this is probably what our child is thinking when we ask them what they’ve been up to. And maybe explains why they don’t necessarily feel like answering initially (on top of a busy day at school!)
Connecting with your child
My son is so used to me doing this that sometimes if he’s completely wiped out after school he’ll slump into the car seat saying “Tell me what you did today, mummy”. Then he zones out and his eyes glaze over as he half listens to what I think are fairly mundane details about an average day.
I realised actually he finds it quite comforting – it’s a window onto the hidden world of the parent during the school day. So it’s also building connection with our children about a time when we’re apart.
Build it in, bit by bit
Don’t be disheartened if your child doesn’t follow your lead on day one. It’s new. Try telling them about your day for a few days in a row and see what happens.
“Why won’t my child tell me what he had for their school lunch?”
Try the same approach: if your child is ignoring your questions, tell your child what you ate for lunch. You might just find them bursting to share what they had before you even finish talking!
It can work with anything – just answer the question that you want to ask!
Give it and try and see what happens!