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“What Did You Do Today?”

Techniques for Getting Preschoolers to Talk to Parents

We know you are eager to know how your child’s day went.  Techniques for Getting Preschoolers to Talk to Parents

What did they do?   What did they learn?

montessori school of silicon valley best preschool milpitas san jose santa clara fremontThe challenge is that these questions might be too vague and not “interesting” enough to a child to get them talking.

You’ll be surprised what you can learn about your children when you get them to start chatting about their day.

Plus, if they are having difficulty or a problem at school hopefully they’ll open up a little more so you can figure out what’s going on.

Does this sound familiar?

You pick up your child from school, buckle them into their car seat and as you are starting to pull away from the school:

Parent: “How was your day?”

Child: “Good.”

Parent: “What did you do today?”

Child: “Nothing.”

Here are a few different questions to try when attempting to jumpstart the conversation:

  • What was the best thing that happened at school today?
  • What was the worst thing that happened at school today?
  • Tell me something that made you laugh today.
  • Tell me about what you read in class today. What did your teacher read to the class today?
  • Who did you sit with at lunch today? What did you talk about?
  • Can you show me something you learned today?
  • Tell me the name of 3 friends you played with today?
  • Did your teacher say something funny thing today?
  • What class rules does your teacher say are important?
  • Did you get frustrated with anything at school today?
  • Were you able to finish all your work today?
  • Tell me about a new word you heard today at school.
  • Did anyone do something nice for you today?
  • Did you do something nice for someone?
  • What was your favorite part of the day?

These questions can begin with your child as young as 2.5 years old.  Keep at it.  I assure you that the same questions will come in handy when they are young teenagers and they return to “one word” answers.

It’s also important not to ask too many questions. Pick a few a day to concentrate on and mix it up.

Most children will likely say “the playground” was their favorite part of the day. This does not mean that they are not busy learning and working in the classroom.year round outside play cabrillo montessori school of silicon valley best preschool milpitas santa clara fremont sunnyvale san jose

Of course, outside play is the favorite part of the day – it’s everyone’s favorite part of the day!

Understanding your child’s favorite playground or classroom activity can be a doorway to an entire conversation:

“Did you get a turn with the scooter?”

“How do you work out who gets the scooter first?”

The point is to get your child feeling comfortable and talking to you.

Other tactics

Struggling to get your child talking to you in the car? Try these:

The Garbage Truckmontessori school of silicon valley best preschool milpitas san jose santa clara fremont

After more than 20 years working with children I can assure you that watching the Garbage Truck is a universal fascination, it just is.

The children know what day, what time, and where to go to watch the Garbage Truck.  The discussions held on the play yard about the Garbage Truck are serious, long and meaningful.

Ask your child about the Garbage Truck and you will discover a whole new world!

Leave the electronic devices at home (or in the glove box)

Wondering why your child doesn’t want to go to school? Imagine if you were playing a game or watching your favorite educational programing or (the latest episode of Game of Thrones) and then suddenly you have to stop…get out of your comfy seat…to go to SCHOOL.

This is a difficult task for an adult let alone a 4-year old!

Stay off YOUR phone

This can be tough here in the Silicon Valley – many of our parents work tech jobs that seemingly never end.  But try to avoid conference calls while riding in the car to and from school.

The car can be a great time to talk with your child – if you can eliminate the distractions.  Having your attention in the car will be something you children will come to look forward to.

My boys are teenagers now.  When they were in preschool and even elementary school, we had a 30 to 45-minute commute each way.  We made up games that involved the radio, other cars on the road, road signs, etc.

Most importantly we laughed and spent the time interacting together.

Don’t be afraid to be silly!

This is a great time and place for it.  It is just you and your children in the car. Nobody else is paying attention.  Go for it!

If you have had a stressful day, this can be a very effective way for you to unwind from your day as well.

Most importantly, your kids will love it and will feel like they can relax with your – which in turn will help them be more open and honest when talking to you.

Enjoy this time – it does not last forever

Today, my boys are very independent and we do not spend as much time together as we use to.

montessori school of silicon valley best preschool milpitas san jose santa clara fremontWhen I really want to know how they are doing, I find a reason to ride in the car.  It takes time for them to start talking, so the trip needs to be longer than a drive to the grocery store.

I have found that by using questions like the ones listed here, they always begin to open up to me.

Next time you are in the car, choose two or three of these questions and give it a try.  It might take a few attempts but keep at it & I am confident that you will get your child to start talking to you – and probably asking you a few of these questions.

Below are a couple of links for some additional information on this topic.

Until next time,

-Colleen

“Children First, Always”

Foolproof Strategies to get Children Talking

Learning on the Go