Times have been difficult lately, haven't they? As parents, we certainly haven't experienced the 2020/21 we all expected, but that is true for our children, too.
Many children are going off to school having had a very different nursery experience (with extended closures and social distancing), while others are returning to school for what will hopefully be a more stable year after two years of disruption.
It is only natural for them to feel anxious about returning. Equally, as parents we want to protect our children and ensure they are happy and healthy - not just physically, but emotionally, too.
Arlo is still too young for school, however as a teacher, it is a question I get asked so often by parents, I felt the need to address it directly here.
How to talk to your child about their day (and actually get a meaningful response!)
Have you ever asked your child how their day was and they simply grunt or mutter 'fine' and carry on about their business? If so, you aren't alone. It is something parents up and down the country deal with every day! Getting our children to open up and talk in a meaningful way about their day at school can be tricky. After all, coming home is their time for relaxation, putting the school day behind them in favour of family time.
Even so, as parents we strive to have an open dialogue that will enable us to support and guide our children where needed. To helpfully ease some of those back-to-school worries for both parents and children, I have compiled a list of questions you can ask which will hopefully engage them in further conversation.
Hopefully, this will help you to explore how they are coping with the return to school life and share in their everyday experiences.
Remember: the goal is to ask open ended questions. Here are some examples:
What was your favourite lesson today? Why?
Who was your favourite teacher? What do you like about him/her?
What was the best thing that happened today?
Tell me the funniest thing you heard today.
Tell me the saddest thing you heard today.
What was the worst thing that happened?
Tell me something you now know that you didn't when you left the house this morning.
Which lesson did you find the most challenging?
Which lesson did you find the most rewarding?
Which lesson did you find the most engaging?
What equipment/technology did you use today?
Who did you sit with at lunch?
What games did you play at break time?
What are you going to try and do differently tomorrow?
What was today's assembly/class story about?
If you could drop one of your lessons, which one would you lose and why?
If you could do more of any lesson, which one would you choose and why?
How did you feel at the start of the day?
How did you feel at the end of the day?
What are you most looking forward to doing tomorrow?
What are you not looking forward to doing tomorrow?
What topic do you need most support with?
What story are you learning about in Literacy/English?
What operation are you doing in Maths (many schools begin each year with place value followed by the four operations - add, multiple, divide and subtract).
Tell me something you found out from a friend.
What was your favourite thing in your lunch box/school dinner?
Which went quickest - the morning or afternoon? Why?
Tell me about your favourite book on the book shelf.
What can you see from your classroom window?
Who do you sit by in English? Do they help you?
There you have it! This is by no means a comprehensive list, it is simply a guide to get you going and hopefully steer you on the right path to some truly meaningful conversations. The key is using questions which are broad and cannot be answered by a 'yes' or 'no'.
Let me know how you got on by dropping me a comment in the comments box below.