Ways to Help Your Child Communicate About Their Day
Children are used to being around their parents during their early years. Likewise, parents are used to knowing what is going on in their children’s day. Parents can monitor their children and feel at ease about their activities.
However, things change once the kids are old enough to enroll in a childcare center. Early childcare and education play significant roles in a child’s development, so it is only natural for parents to want to see progress and hear about their children’s day at the center. However, there will come a time when the kids are not as enthusiastic about telling their parents about their day anymore.
For instance, you can happily ask your child “How was your day?” and they would simply reply with “Fine”. Now, how do you get more answers without sounding or feeling too overbearing?
How to Encourage Communication with Your Children
Here are some ways to help your child communicate about their day:
Ask open-ended questions.
Although “How was your day?” is a simple and effective question most of the time, it is not a good conversation starter. It does not encourage a healthy amount of back-and-forth, and it can easily feel like a one-sided conversation.
Asking open-ended conversation can open up a lot of topics. For instance, instead of asking how their day was, you can ask about a friend they normally play with or a project that you’ve seen them working on.
Instead of responding with a close-ended reply, respond with another question or a full sentence. Show them that you like hearing about their day. That will encourage your children to share more.
For instance, if they say “We read a story today”, instead of saying “Okay” or “Sounds fun”– you can ask “Oh. What story did you read?” or “What part of the story did you like most?” so that they know that you are truly listening.
Be a good example of healthy communication.
You can model healthy communication in front of your children. You can talk to your spouse about the things you did or learn during the day. Your children can join in when they hear that you’re talking about your day.
Communication is learned, and you can help your children learn at home.
Make some time for talking.
Take some time to talk to your children and get into a routine. For instance, you can talk over dinner or maybe as you pick them up from the childcare center. It will become a habit for both parents and children.
Help them enjoy their downtime.
You have to admit that as an adult, you like having some downtime after work. You want to relax and unwind after a long day’s work. Kids are no different. You need to see their day from their perspective. As an adult, you may think that being in school or playing in the childcare center is not all that difficult– but maybe for them, it is the most tiring day of their life.
Allow your children to enjoy a snack and have some playtime when they get home. Talk to them when they are rested and relaxed.
Do your research.
You want to be able to ask more specific questions to your child so you can have a proper discussion. Asking them how their day was will not give you enough to go on. Do your research. Check school newsletters, reach out to their teachers, and encourage them to invite friends over.
Distinguish quiet vs. struggling.
There is a fine line between a quiet child and a struggling child. Some kids are naturally quiet, some kids are just having a bad day, but you should learn when your children are struggling.
If you notice that your children no longer likes the things they used to enjoy, they have become irritable, or if they seem to struggle to make friends then you might need to start digging a little deeper.
If your child used to love talking about their day but they suddenly dread it– then there may be a problem. Help them open up and resolve the issue by letting them know that your home is a safe space and you will listen to them with no judgment.
Teaching your children healthy communication is part of good parenting. You need to model what you want your child to do. Kids mirror what their parents do. Help them feel safe about opening up to you. Set healthy limits and do everything with love.