Communicating with your children isn’t always easy. Here are 5 things to ask your homeschooled kid to keep those lines of communication open.
When my kids were in public school, I often asked them, “How was your day?”
I’d get the standard, “Fine”, and then they’d be on their way with nothing else to offer.
Or even the, “What did you do today?”
You know they did something all day. Right?
Illiciting greater conversation from your kids takes time and practice.
Once you begin homeschooling, you know what they’ve done all day — so what do you talk about?
I’m a firm believer in family dinners, at least a few days out of the week. If partners work full time, or if single parents are pulling all the weight, it’s often hard for the whole family to connect unless you all are in the same room. I know with our busy schedules, my husband and I often text one another (sometimes in the same room!), or chat on Facebook and forget to have the deeper conversations with ourselves and with the kids. The fast paced schedule and shared calendars tell us each which direction to go, but it doesn’t provide time to really connect with our family.
Asking your kids open ended questions like the ones below will help create greater conversation, and empower your kids to come to you when the going gets tough.
Habit creates habit.
1. What went well today?
Kids (and adults) tend to focus on all that wentwrongduring the day. We’re upset, they’re upset and our first instinct is to unload all the day’s heaviness on the first available person. Start with what went well and redirect the conversation to the positive traits of the day.
2. Where did you need help today?
Everyone needs help at some point during the day. Encouraging your kids to recognize when and where they need help, gives them the confidence to ask for help again. It also helps them recognize the helpers in their path. Look for the helpers!
3. What didn’t go as expected today?
Not, what didn’t go well. I’m sure there were things that didn’t go well. Asking what didn’t go as expected helps kids to understand that unexpected paths aren’t always bad and can indeed hold some wonderful outcomes. Asking this question in the middle, also takes the focus off of the unexpected as being bad. If it indeed was a bad experience, ask, “Could you have done anything to change that?” If they’re being late caused a whole chain of events that led to missing out on a concert, then yes — they hopefully learned not to be late, and can take responsibility for that. If the concert was canceled because of rain, help them to recognize that circumstances were beyond their control.
4. What do you want to explore tomorrow?
Homeschool isn’t all rainbows and glitter, but perhaps your child would like to expand on the science lesson or work with a new art medium or take a field trip for more hands on learning. Encouraging conversations about future learning wants and needs, are great ways for homeschool moms to incorporate some of those lessons, or to even provide time for the kids to explore on their own.
5. What do you wish for tomorrow?
Anything goes here. This wraps up their days experiences today and places hope on tomorrow’s activities. It might be as simple as, “I wish Maisie would have her puppies tomorrow.” Or it might be a bigger wish like relief for a friend struggling with illness. Let the kids determine what is weighing heavily on their mind. Be sure as the parent, that you offer up parts of your day too.
Keeping those communication lines open with children is not always easy but narrowing down your thoughts to those 5 simple phrases can help illicit your child’s thoughts and feelings surrounding their day.