Parenting: These Questions Will Get Your Kids Talking
More often than not, when you ask your kids about how their day went, the usual response is just “Fine,” or “Good.” So how do you get them to open up, and say more than that? What’s really going on when they are at school? What do they think of their friends, class clowns, teachers, lessons, lunch or recess, or the bullies they may come across?
Here is a sampling of questions to jumpstart a meaningful dialogue between parent and child. Pick one or pick them all. Just don’t pick them all at once or you’ll raise your kids’ suspicions and make them steer clear of your “interrogation”!ABOUT PEERS and FRIENDS:
• Who decides what to do at recess? What makes it fun? Who or what makes it stressful?
• Who did you eat lunch with today? Do you eat with the same kids every day or do you mix it up? Can anyone join you at lunchtime or do they need (a ringleader’s) “permission”?
• What do you do to welcome the new kids at your school? When are you a leader? When are you a follower? What makes you a good leader?
• Which of your friends would you nominate as “The Best School Citizen”? What characteristics qualify them to earn this award?
• What characteristics do your friends appreciate about you?ABOUT BULLIES and STRESS:
• Which kids get in trouble the most at school? On the bus? Who/what situation challenges you the most? Why?
• If you could teach these kids a thing or two about staying out of trouble what would you teach them?
• What do you think makes bullies act the way they do? What makes you angry about bullies? What makes you feel sorry for them?
• What one thing do you regret saying or doing to another student? What would you do differently next time?
• Name three things that would make school less stressful.
IN THE CLASSROOM:
• What teacher deserves a raise? What makes their class fun? What helps you to learn most effectively?
• What class/teacher challenges you the most? If you were the teacher in this class, what would you do differently?
• Who makes the class laugh? What makes this disruptive or fun for you?
• Without actually doing your homework for you, what can I do to help you do your best?
• Name three things that make you look forward to school.
Your children’s answers to these questions are insights as to how they make observations, formulate judgments, feel emotions, and make decisions. Remember to keep your questions open-ended by starting them with “who,” “what,” “where,” “how,” “when,” “tell me more about…” or “describe….” Though kids can still give you short answers, it will be harder for them! Ask the questions lightheartedly in a calm, relaxed setting and you’ll likely get some solid information. Not only will you learn more about your child’s school life, hopefully you’ll learn new things about their personality and preferences. Then, you can capitalize on opportunities to guide and teach them how to navigate the game of life.
[Keyuri Joshi RN, MSN, is a Certified Parenting and Emotional Intelligence Coach.]
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