Does Your Child Have Secrets?
Your child lives in a secret world. They go into school each day and have a multitude of experiences that you might never know about. It can be difficult, developmentally, for children to recount their day to you. It can be hard for them to be vulnerable enough to tell you about their failures. There are strategies you can use to get your children to open up and remember important details.
1) Ask specific questions. This one is obvious; instead of asking about their day as a whole, ask about specific parts of the day. “How were you feeling during math class?” or “Who did you play with at recess and what did you play?” Try to ask questions about things they usually don’t bring up naturally.
2) Play the question game at dinner or in the car. Whenever your busy family is together, play the question game. Everyone can ask a question and everyone has to answer. You take turns. It can be silly stuff like “Would you rather eat rat or mice?” or it can be serious, “What mistake did you make today?” These questions will help your child open up and can get you information on parts of the day they may not have told you about otherwise.
3) Don’t try to talk to them after you’ve criticized them. Children need assessment and feedback, not just at school. Sometimes you need to criticize your child. Sometimes you need to tell them not to rush through the writing assignment they just got back or maybe they haven’t been helping with chores. However, this does make your child feel vulnerable and it’s not the right time to ask them questions about their day.
4) Make model sharing about your day with them routine. When they ask about your day give an answer that sounds like something you would want to receive. For example, “I was really stressed this morning because I had a ton of emails to get to. I decided to each lunch alone to recharge and I was feeling better in the afternoon.” This shows them how to share a problem and models great problem-solving skills.
5) Don’t problem solve for them. If your child tells you about a problem, emotionally support them and then help them solve their issues. For example, “I’m sorry you got in trouble when you weren’t speaking. I bet that felt unfair. What could you do about it next time?” This will allow them to open up because their autonomy has been respected.
These tips will help you and your child communicate more effectively so that you have the information to support them throughout their academic career.