It’s Off-To-School time again! There are new shoes, sparkly backpacks, bento boxes and the super-fun carline. But what do you do when your little darling gets back into the car after a long day and says… nothing? This happens to many, many parents. They ask, “How was your day?” Nothing. “Who did you play with?” Nothing. “Anything special happen?” Nothing. Here are five tips to get those sealed lips flapping:
Teach them how to talk about THEIR day, by talking about YOUR day. “Nothing? Okay, then. I’ll go first. This morning I went to the grocery store, then I talked to Aunt Susan…“ Sometimes they chime in and start chatting about something they remembered or need you to know.
Ask them very specific questions. “What was the funniest thing that happened?” “Did you see what I packed for snack?” “Did you try out the slide or just do tag?” "Did Tyler get his braces off yet?" Answering these questions might prompt a longer chat about what DID happen that day.
Say nothing. Some kids get into the car and welcome the sweet, sweet relief of just being in their comfy place with their comfy person. They need time to decompress before they are ready to re-live the excitement. Once they feel safe and settled, they’re more likely to chat- so wait until later to do your prodding.
Be a good listener. No one talks when they think they are not being heard. When your child DOES talk, make eye contact (if you can), ignore distractions and don't interrupt! Sometimes the simplest courtesies are the easiest to forget when we have too many things rolling around our minds.
Don't judge or voluntarily share your opinion. This is especially true for our older kids. Sometimes kids clam up because they are afraid you'll judge their choices or try to coerce them into seeing their day "your way." You might say things like, "Well, we know that Andrew is a jerk at soccer, so it makes sense he's a jerk at recess too" or "I told you that if you didn't put that project in your folder you would lose it. And you did! I'm not surprised..." Save that parenting wisdom for another time (you can always raise the subject later), lest you prematurely shut off the fountain of chatter before it really gets flowing.