Sunday Snippet: I Don’t Want To Talk About It!
Back when our oldest was attending kindergarten and we would go pick her up after her day, we routinely asked her how her day was, and more often than not she’d reply, “I don’t want to talk about it”. She didn’t display sadness in her response about her day nor did she seem resistant in her request to defer the question. She simply wanted to sit quietly and decompress from another eventful day in the classroom. We quickly learned to accept her deflection knowing she would share more later when she was ready.
As both of our children got older, however, the obligatory ‘How was your day’ inquiry each evening at dinner was met with more & more resistance and sometimes near defiance as we seemingly intruded into their social space. We eventually found that asking more specific questions about certain class assignments, music activities, or successes & challenges with friends often resulted in more detailed replies (in the interest of full disclosure, however, it is important to point out that particularly in the middle school years, there were still unseen’ land mines’ that we hit along the way!).
Getting kids to talk can be challenging at any level. It’s a lot like the old saying about computers, ‘garbage in, garbage out’. If we ask generic questions, we will often get generic (if even that) responses. Showing a genuine interest in their day, their activities, their social life requires some insight beyond ‘how was your day’. A recent post came across my desktop that offered a selection of effective questions parents can use to more effectively engage their children in meaningful and informative conversation. 50 Questions To Ask Your Kids Instead Of Asking “How Was Your Day” (Leslie Means, HerViewFromHome, 2017) provides a plethora of specific questions many parents will find useful in their daily interactions with their children. Here are a few of my favorites:
#1 – What made you smile today?
#11 – What was the best thing that happened today?
#15 – What made you laugh?
#19 – What was your least favorite part of the day?
#23 – What is something you saw that made you think?
#25 – Tell me something you know today that you didn’t know yesterday.
#33 – Tell us your top two things from the day (before you can be excused from the dinner table!).
#38 – If you could change one thing about your day, what would it be?
#50 – If you switched places with your teacher tomorrow, what would you teach the class?
These 50 questions are by no means the be-all and end-all, but they do provide a starting point to spark our own creativity in discovering how our children’s days have been and making them talk about it. We would love to hear some new and interesting questions that work for you as you follow the lives of your kids. Please share your thoughts in the comments!
Thank you for joining us today and have a great week everyone!