My child never talks about his school day with me!! What do I do??
Welcome to the real world of parenting! We all have those moments when we think of ALL the time we invested with our little one, only to find them nonchalant when we gently ask them –‘How was school today?’
As a parent I have gone through that phase twice, being the proud mother of two children. I have tried every trick in the book including repeating the same question in different tones – gently at first, coaxing a little, raising my voice a lot and then finally giving up in frustration.
He would simply refuse to answer, preferring to read a book. I knew I had to find a way to handle this six year old and that too real quick!
I happened to speak to my cousin Sadhna (mother of 3 children), the next day and I casually discussed my situation with her. Three children, I felt, provided enough experience in parenting. And I was right. She understood my plight and offered me some practical suggestions. I decided to put her suggestions to practice during the very next week.
What ensued during the week:
Monday, evening, at home:
“So Ronav, whose birthday was it in school today?” (the probability of having a birthday celebration everyday is high ,in schools!!)
My son looked at me briefly before answering-“Nikita’s. We ate cake.”
It was a start, more importantly the method was working!!! So I took this idea forward.
Tuesday, evening, at home:
“Ronav, did you and your classmates share snacks today? Whose lunch did you like best.”
“Kavita and I exchanged snacks today Mummy. She had got yummy pasta and I gave her my dhoklas.” “I think she liked your dhoklas.” (he added, as an after thought!)
“Does your teacher also sit with all of you while you snack? Did you share your snack with her?
“Yes Mummy, teacher sits with us while we eat our snacks. Today she even told us a story during snack time. The hare and the tortoise story. Do you know that one? The one where the hare and tortoise keep a race and the tortoise comes first. Can you believe that?? A tortoise won the race!!”
I was definitely making progress here. We launched into a conversation discussing the story and decided that the tortoise was definitely smarter than the hare.
Wednesday , evening, at home:
“Was there playtime today? Did you play with your friends Ronav?”
Ronav launched into a detailed explanation about all the games he played in school. Apparently he played catch-ball, hide and seek , hopscotch etc. “Hopscotch is my favourite Mummy” , he told me decidedly. Next week it would be catch-ball J
The week continued in a similar manner and with each passing day, I knew that my son was opening up more and more with me. There were still things which he would not tell me, but now I had a confidence that with time and some smart parenting, I could easily handle that too.
So my dear readers, any guesses on what was the reason for such a change in my child? How did this change happen? What was the advice I had received from my cousin?
Well it is rather a case of what she told me NOT to do. If you observed carefully, the entire week I refrained from asking my child the one direct question which I always used to ask before- “How was your school day?”
And that was all the change that was needed. Children I have discovered, only answer what they want to answer. To get them to respond, we need to ask them questions in a way which will make them want to answer us! Not a bad idea to try out, eh!!
Few questions you could ask your child…instead of “How was your day”
- Who was sitting next to you during snack time in school?
- Did you help anybody at school today? Who?
- Who made you laugh today ? Did your friends share any funny joke with you?
- Who brought the tastiest lunch to school today?
- What is the best thing you like about your teacher?
- What games do you play during short breaks?
- Imagine you are the teacher. Which subject would you like to teach your students?
..and so on….