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Talking about school

 
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'What happened at school?' 'Nothing!'  Does this sound familiar?  We are now 4 weeks into school, you know that your child has had a full and engaging day at school; involved in many activities, experiences and social interactions. Often children feel that their school experiences are not important or interesting.

 

Parents, on the other hand, do genuinely want to know how their school day was. This can result in a sort of cat-and-mouse game; the parent probes, the child evades, the parent asks again, the child evades again, and so on. Usually, it is the parent who gives up first. Most children can be exhausted after a long day at school and discussing their day is the last thing on their mind. When they get home, they generally need a healthy snack and some 'tune out' time before they are ready to share some of their day with you. 

 

Listed below are some of the strategies that families use when asking the 'What happened at school?' question.

 

•           Create a family ritual in which everyone shares something about their day at dinner. Start by talking about your day. Make sure that everyone has a chance to talk, but also has the option of 'passing' if they don't feel like contributing.

 

•           Rather than posing a general question, ask about a specific event or class. For example, 'How was parade?' or 'What did your class do in English today?' Try to phrase your questions to invite answers that are longer than 'yes', 'no' or 'OK'. Questions that begin with 'What did you do in ...?' are often better for this purpose than ones that start 'How was ...?' or 'Did you ...?'

 

•           When your child does respond, give them your full attention. Let them know that you're listening by asking clarifying questions, such as 'Do you mean that….?' or 'Let me make sure I understand…'

 

•           Keep open channels of communication with your child's teacher. Teachers who know that you are interested and friendly are usually glad to keep you abreast of what's going on. While this helps you to understand what is happening in your child's class each day you can also seek further clarification of your child's responses if needed.

 

•           Respect your child's privacy, but let them know that you are open whenever they feel like sharing their thoughts. When children don't feel they are being continually 'forced' to talk about their whole day, they will often willingly recall special parts of their day.




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Last reviewed 19 February 2021
Last updated 19 February 2021