Traduce a Espanol!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

"So what did you do today?"

Do you remember hearing this as a child?  Have you asked this question of your child?  I think most of us can remember times when we got this question after coming home from school...or at least some variation of it..."What did you learn today?" "How was your day?" "What did you do?"  All good questions that could start wonderful dialogue with your child...but they won't :) 

In all honesty, when someone asks you - What did you do today?  What do you say?  Can you even remember?  I'm sorry, but with my mommy brain and with all that goes on during the day...I have no idea how to answer that question!  I'm lucky if I remembered to eat and shower...much less what I did that morning!  We can't expect our children to either.  I taught my daughter last year in prek4 and sometimes, when my husband asked us what we did that day...I honestly and truthfully drew a blank!  That's what having kids does to you :)

If you are a parent of a child that has just started preschool or kindergarten, or if you have a child already in elementary school, I KNOW you are dying to know what goes on at school, what your child learned that day, did anything happen that you need to or should know about...and so on.  I certainly feel all these things.  But getting the information out of your child - much harder than it sounds :)
On this day I got to help them make these uber cool lorax hats :)

I was fortunate enough last year to be able to volunteer in my son's kindergarten classroom.  This helped me tremendously, he loved it and the teacher, from what she has told me, was grateful :)  Being there helped me know what he did during the day, what to expect from him when he came home and gave me a perspective of "his day".  It also helped me put myself in his shoes...and when I wanted to ask him a question about his day, I first asked myself - "ok, if i were him, how would I answer?"  And I realized that I had been asking all the wrong questions. 

So, if you want to know how your child's day went and you're not getting anywhere...let me help :)  Here are 5 questions to ask you children that WILL get you answers.  Not only will you get answers, you will jump start conversations and those will jog their memories about other things that have happened.  AND, if you keep asking them the same questions every day (say, over dinner) consistently, they will begin to prepare their answers in advance! 

I'll start with our "littles" - if you have a 3-4 year old this will be harder, but you CAN get answers :)
1.  What made you happy today?
2.  What made you sad today?
3.  Did you help anyone today?
4.  What did you make today or What was your favorite thing you played with today?
5.  and my favorite...(believe me, if the answer to this question is "yes", you will hear a long and detailed story :) Did you cry today OR Did anyone in your class cry today?  (this evening, the answer from my daughter...the kindergartener...was this - YES!  Louis cried today.  me:  Why?  her:  cause he had to move to yellow and lose 5 minutes of play time.  He cried the whole five minutes.  I just learned a little bit more about my daughter's day ;)

For your elementary kids, you can use the same questions but change the language:
1.  What was your favorite thing you did today or What was the best thing that happened to you today?
2.  What was your least favorite thing that happened today?
3.  Who did you help today? (so important for them to understand that God wants us to have compassion towards others and to help them...prevent bullying!)
Helping others is very important!!

Teach your children that it is Ok to ask for help!

4.  Who helped you today?  (I've found this one is hard for them...but I like it because it reminds them that it's ok to ask for help)
5.  and still my fave...Did you cry today OR Did anyone in your class cry today?

personally, since the first day of school this year, I have asked my kids the first four questions (for the elem kids).  Depending on how our conversation is going, I throw in the fifth - especially if I want a good story :)  After a week of doing this every night over dinner, and encouraging them on their way to school to help someone and to not be afraid to ask for help, they are now coming home from school with at least one answer ready.  My oldest monkey came in the door today and said - I helped someone today! :)  I love to hear this!

On a side note:  A policewoman who came to talk to a group of moms I was meeting with also said this - at a young age, try and ask them every night about something "good" that happened and something "bad" (I just re-worded it to favorite and least favorite).  She said it will help you as a parent come to understand your child's definition of good and bad and could  help you in the future if something bad were to happen.  Interesting thought.  I learned last year that my son's definition of "bad" is when "Robin" or some other friend had a bad day and had to move their "frog" down :)  "Bad" meant when others misbehaved and didn't listen...it didn't have to directly affect him.

Tomorrow, I get to start volunteering in both their classes.  I'm looking forward to putting a face to the names I'm hearing about and to assist their teachers in their classrooms.  I'll get a little closer to understanding "how their days go" :)

How do you get your kids talking?  Any questions you would add to my list?

God bless!