It took my daughter almost four years to start telling me how her day at school was. Between 2 1/2 and 5, the conversations would go like this:
-” So how was school today?
-“What did you do today?”
-“So you did NOTHING today!?”
I would joke that we were paying the school for her to do nothing; she would nod and that would be the end of it. Between 5 and 6 1/2, we went from “I did nothing” to “I looked at the walls all day!”. “Thank God, we are not paying for nothing anymore!” I would exclaim and we would both laugh! But it didn’t make me feel any better.
So how do you get your child to tell you what happens during those hours where she/he is away from you? As a parent you want to know that your child is fine, happy and active, and more importantly that there is more going on than staring at walls all day! I tried the “What was the best moment of the day” or “What was the special moment today at school”, “Did anything special happen today?”that some sites suggest, and the answer would still be the same: “Nothing”. I tried getting her to talk before she went to bed; during diner time, and bath time. All in vain!
Thankfully, things changed the day I asked her if “she had fun at school”. It wasn’t a new strategy to get her to talk or anything; it just came up. She was in first grade then, when kids transition from still having fun in Kinder to more learning. No more toys in the classroom, less time spent on the playground. As soon as I asked her that question, her little face lit up and she started talking and has been talking since. We went from “nothing happened” to “a lot of things happened”. It was an eye opener for me. Why such a switch? I guess mostly because my question validated her as a person. By asking her if she had fun, I was putting her well-being first and she was responding to that.
As of today, there are no more walls. I don’t have to question her anymore. She just tells me and I listen. Interestingly enough, I didn’t have the same problem with my younger one. She is a talker. She doesn’t mind sharing with me as well as with the stranger at the grocery store. One thing is for sure, whenever she goes to school, I know that she doesn’t stare at walls all day!