* Represents mandatory fields
Here is a common scenario in most homes around the world including Africa.
Child comes through the door, following a long eventful or not-so-eventful day at school. (For parents who communicate with their children in a language other than in English, feel free to put the context described in your local language).
Parent: *with enthusiasm* “Welcome! How was your day today?”
Kid: *shrugs with apathy* “Fine” *says inaudibly*
Parent: *insistent on getting more conversation going* “How did school go today?”
Kid: *still apathetic* “Fine” *again responding inaudibly*
There are better ways to get your child to have a meaningful conversation with you beyond “How was your day today?”
Without intent to be judgemental, some of the problems many parents have in talking with their children stem from:
In many homes, the conversation with kids are commonly initiated as soon as the child walks through the door from school or if later, in the kitchen or at the dinner table in the presence of siblings or other family members.
It is worth being aware that children like adults may feel tired after a long day at school and wish to rest on returning home. It therefore may be helpful to find other suitable times for meaningful conversation with your child.
Dinner time is commonly assumed to be one such suitable or perfect time and situation to chat with kids.
The idea is that family is together, and sharing and bonding can happen.
In as much as dinner time may feel like an ideal time and place for parental chats with kids, be mindful that your child may not feel comfortable being “in the spotlight” in such situation. They may feel too stressed or embarassed to open up about their day.
Studies have shown however that when children are in a one-on-one, non-threatening and less demanding situation like taking a ride in a car, walking the dog, or doing fun chores like gardening with a parent alone, they more often than not feel comfortable to open up and talk about their day.
So, it is important to make these individualized conversational moments happen with a non-judgmental, open and listening mindset if you wish to engage at a personal level with your child.
The common conversation starter like “How was your day today?” that parents direct at their kids is way too vague and non-specific. Such question line may pose considerable challenge to a child as to which of the many events in the day to talk about first.
A line of questioning of a child that fails to get the child to think through feelings and attitudes regarding specific aspects of the day’s experience before responding is a conversation killer.
For example, as an ice breaker, asking your child to rate his/her day on a 1 – 10 scale for fun or whatever (1 being very poor and 10 being the best) may be a good way to start meaningful conversation with the child. This enables the child to focus on a specific aspect of the day’s events with higher probability of an enthusiastic and clear response.
The more focused and specific you are about your questions, the better it will be to get a good conversation going with your child.
Here are some other specific-type questioning ideas to get you started:
Adapted from: 30 questions to ask your kid beyond “How was your day today?”
Also watch video and learn:
Published: February 27, 2923
DATELINEHEALTH AFRICA INC., is a digital publisher for informational and educational purposes and does not offer personal medical care and advice. If you have a medical problem needing routine or emergency attention, call your doctor or local emergency services immediately, or visit the nearest emergency room or the nearest hospital. You should consult your professional healthcare provider before starting any nutrition, diet, exercise, fitness, medical or wellness program mentioned or referenced in the DatelinehealthAfrica website. Click here for more disclaimer notice.