When I pick up my 5-year-old daughter from school, I can’t get her to tell me anything about her day. This can be frustrating. Sound familiar?
It occurred to me that many parents feel the same way as I do. First and foremost, we all want to be able to have a substantive conversation with our children and secondly, we all like a little validation that they are indeed having a positive experience. And as we count down to summer it may be helpful to have some tips and questions to help to generate meaningful conversations with your child about their camp day.
When intentionally engaging your child in conversation take a moment to purposefully choose the time to have a conversation. I find that although I am most eager to know about my daughter’s day at pick up time, that the better time to get her attention is either over the dinner table (when her belly is full) or just before bedtime. Choosing a calm time without interruption or distraction makes the conversation more meaningful. What is the best time in your house?
Additionally, try adding it to the nightly routine just like brushing your teeth. Children thrive on expectation and traditions. Setting aside a few minutes each night to talk about the day builds a trust and overtime will be very meaningful.
Now that we’ve set aside the time, what are we saying? Are we asking the right questions? Our parents pre-programmed us to ask “How was your day?” And we are all disappointed when we get the child standard response; Fine, Good, or my least favorite the shoulder shrug. We are left wanting more!
I find that replacing general questions with leading and specific questions opens up the dialogue. Include these questions in your repertoire; What was the best part of your day? What part of the day was least fun? How was a specific activity? Tell me about something you and your friends did today? Describe your counselor? What did it feel like when you did… (Performed on stage today, caught a fish, lost at basketball)?
Don’t forget to share your day and experiences as well. When we share we are role modeling for them as well as providing an opportunity for them to ask questions, problem solve along with us, and learn how to properly engage further in a discussion.
Good conversation with our children is the best quality time there is. Often as parents we find ourselves talking to our children. Take this opportunity to talk with your child.
Great quality time, trust building, building a connection to our child’s day, and being satisfied with the information your child is providing…who knew it was so easy.