Getting Your Child to Talk About Kindergarten and School
In recent years, studies have suggested that young children who have positive experiences when they first start going to school often enjoy more academic and social success over time. This is something you should keep in mind if you have a child currently enrolled in kindergarten.
The importance of setting a positive narrative and framework for your child to enjoy going to school each day cannot be underestimated. One way you can do this is by establishing good communication with your child when they come home from Kindergarten.
By forming this connection, you’ll be able to encourage your child more and ensure they’re making the most of their time in Kindergarten. It can, however, be difficult at times to get young children to open up and provide any detail about Kindergarten and school. Here are some useful tips on how to accomplish this goal.
Avoid Bombarding Your Child With Questions Right Away
When you first pick your child up after a long day of Kindergarten, you’re inevitably going to be tempted to ask, “So, how was your day?” Some kids may respond well to this. They might even offer up a positive reflection on their day and tell you all about it.
But more often than not, your child is going to respond to you asking about their day right away by saying something like, “Fine.” And that might be as far as your communication goes since there won’t always be anywhere to go from there.
Rather than asking your child about their day as soon as you pick them up, you should give them some time to decompress. They’ve likely been in constant communication with their teachers, friends, etc. all day long. They’ll appreciate getting a few minutes to breathe so that they can make the transition from school life to home life.
Find the Right Time to Ask Your Child About Their Day
Instead of trying to get your child to provide you with every detail about their day at Kindergarten when you pick them up from school, you can try alternative times to ask them about it. It’s a good idea to carve out some time each day specifically to sit down with your child to speak with them about how their day went.
In some cases, parents will wait until dinner time to ask their children about school. In other instances, they’ll ask their children about school when they’re preparing dinner or when they’re taking walks around their neighbourhood at night. The most important thing is that you make time for your child to tell you about their day.
Ask the Right Kinds of Questions
It’s very easy to fall into the trap of asking your child, “So, how was school?”, each day. It’s a simple enough question for parents to ask their kids.
But there’s one big problem with this question: It’s going to allow your child to give a one-word answer. They’ll be able to get away with saying, “Good,” without feeling like they aren’t answering your question fully.
It’s why you should try to be more specific when you’re asking your child questions about Kindergarten. The questions that you ask them should encourage them to provide you with longer, more in-depth answers. Some of the questions that you may want to try asking your child might include:
- “What was the most interesting thing you learned at school today?”
- “Who did you spend the most time playing with at school today?”
- “What made you laugh while you were at school today?”
- “What was the most fun you had at school today?”
- “Which story did your teacher read to you at school today and what was it about?”
Each of these positive questions should get your child openly talking about school. They should also help jog your child’s memory and get them talking about things that you may not have asked about.
Pay Attention to Your Child When Asking Them About School
If you want to make your child feel comfortable with the idea of talking to you about school, it’s going to be very important for you to pay close attention to them when they respond to your questions. If they sense you aren’t always paying attention, they might be hesitant to provide you with the longer answers you’re looking for from them.
While discussing Kindergarten with your child, you should stop whatever it is you’re doing and give them your undivided attention. You should also put your phone away so that you aren’t distracted by it at any point.
Practice active listening techniques to show your child that you’re paying close attention to them. It’ll make them more eager to talk to you about school day in and day out.
Dig Deeper Into Certain Questions Based on Your Child’s Responses
You don’t necessarily need to ask a bunch of follow-up questions to every single answer that your child provides while talking about school. But you could dig deeper into some of their answers based on their responses to your questions.
For example, let’s say that you ask them a question like, “Who did you spend the most time playing with at school today?”, and they respond by telling you about how they played with a new friend. You might want to follow this up by asking additional questions like:
- “How did you meet this friend?”
- “What do you and this friend have in common?”
- “What do you like about this friend?”
- “Do you still play with your other friend that you were telling me about last week?”
You can get a whole lot of information out of your child just by taking a genuine interest in their responses to your questions. This info will make staying connected with your child easier to do as they begin to create their own life over the years.
Help Your Child Find Solutions to Problems They Have at School
As long as your child feels comfortable talking to you about Kindergarten, there may be times when they’ll bring up problems they’re having at school. They might mention that they’re having a tough time making friends or that they’re struggling to get along with certain kids in their class.
This will give you a great opportunity to speak with your child about being proactive about coming up with solutions to the problems they’re having. You’ll basically get the chance to teach your child a life skill when they’re still very young.
If, for example, they’re having a hard time making friends, you might want to come up with some ways that they can do it together. Maybe they can find someone who is participating in an activity that they enjoy and ask if they can do it with them. Or maybe they can try sitting with someone new at snack time and talk to them about their interests.
You can transform your child into a true problem-solver by listening to the issues they’re having and helping them work their way through them.
Continue to Talk to Your Child About School Each Day
There will be some days when your child will want to spend an hour talking to you about Kindergarten. There will be other days when you’ll have a hard time getting them to open up at all.
What’s important is that you continue to discuss Kindergarten with your child. Even if it doesn’t always feel like it, your child will appreciate you asking them about their days. It’ll make it easier for you to communicate with them as they get older.
Keep the Lines of Communication Open With Your Child
As a parent, communication is going to be key when it comes to your kids. The more that you speak with your kids, the closer your connection with them will be. One great way to communicate with a child is by talking to them about Kindergarten and school. Use the tips found here to help accomplish this, and hopefully your child will continue to share details of their day, when you ask them questions about school.
Browse through the other articles published on our blog for more parenting tips and tricks.
Note: This article is designed to provide general advice for parents and guardians, for specific health advice, please consult with your child’s healthcare practitioner.