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May 25, 2004



This is a very interesting topic. When my daughter (now 6) was much younger in Montessori, at the Back-To-School night for the 3-6 year olds the director admonished us not to grill our kids about 'what they did' in school, and not to be dismayed if, when we asked about their day, the only thing they remembered was what they had for snack.
So I got in the habit of asking, "Did you have a good day today?" Because sometimes I think, especially with the young ones, that if you ask what they did, they get balky and feel as though you are putting an expectation on them to 'achieve' something, instead of the focus being on how they felt about what was going on. The first question is often followed by, "What did you like best? What didn't you like so much?" And that's kind of a warm-up--afterwards, she is more apt to volunteer other information. Increasingly she wants to talk about both social things, and her schoolwork.

But then, it's important to remember that kids don't talk about stuff just on our timeline. I'm not sure it's reasonable to expect that the moment we want to know, is the moment that's right for them to disclose. For my daughter, the time when she brings up stuff on her mind is (frustratingly, but kind of understandably) after lights-out, when I'm lying down with her for a snuggle time. I have to accept the fact that this is when unresolved issues and doubts arise for her, when her mind is trying to settle down.


This is a hard one. I remember as a 6th grade teacher it was pulling teeth to get my students to open up, and I tried until I succeeded! Communication is SO important as kids grow into their pretten and teenage years :) Better to start now. Hopefully when Liam is one, he'll be able to tell me how his day went, or at least show me which Sippy cup he wishes to use; you have to start somewhere! ;)


Every night at dinner we go around the table and each person says their high point and low point of the day. Both children love doing this. It also teaches them how to be respectful when another person is talking. They like it so much that they recently added 'Middle Point.' I have no idea if that's a good thing or a bad thing that happened. Sometimes I can't even tell from their response. :)


My five-year-old son dictates a journal to me several times a month, and that is a great way to get information out of him as well as a good way to preserve his thoughts and ideas at different stages of his life.


I'm not really sure of the best way to get kids to open up, and I'm also not sure if what I'm about to say goes for a six-year-old. But my high school days are only two years behind me, and I know that when Mom asked me about my day, I often just didn't feel like sharing anything about it because it felt like routine to me. I went there every single day and after a while, the days just blurred together - same faces, same voices, same routine. Really, it's just like an adult going to work. They may be younger, but the same general mental processes go on, I think. If something really noteworthy happened, like a field trip or a 'scandal' of some sort which I was still riled up about when I came home, then I shared it, but usually, the day's happenings were filed under the category of 'general same old same old'. And often, things which had happened tended to 'disappear' from my mind, only to come back when I heard a particular word or saw a certain paper - I wouldn't remember them when simply asked what I had done that day; they only came back to me later.

But: one trick for getting (usually older) kids to open up, which I've used before: "Okay, so what was the WORST thing that happened today?"


For years, every day when they arrived home they knew they had to answer my question: Tell me one new thing you learned in school today! Sometimes I think they remembered something just to get me to shut up, but many other times it led to a full recounting of the day's events, which was part of my evil plan all along.

Now they are 17 and 12, so those days are long gone. Now I get more info by listening when they don't know that I am. Some might call that 'eavesdropping,' but that's such a negative term.


My kids are the same way too. It's hard to get anything out of them. You hear about what all the other kids did but not them. uuurrrrr! I just want to hug them and beg them to tell me what happened to them.


My ten year old daughter is the same way. I question her and she gives me one word responses. Maybe she just wants to put the day behind her, which I understand. But, like you, I'm curious as to what they're actually teaching my kid and what's going on in her life when I'm not there, so I will continue to grill her daily.


I can't get my children to stop communicating! Between the four that can talk I never get a moment's peace!


Yup - daughter: everything that happened to her and everyone in her class/everyone she saw that day! Younger son: "Grunt." The best thing to get him talking is to pretend like you're not asking questions. We let him open up when he's ready to. And when he does...be sure you're comfortable ;)


Same thing here.Mallory will tell me every single thing she did in a day at school.But with Hannah,it's like pulling teeth to get her to tell me anything.


My daughter is 6 and she is the same way but as soon as you are on the phone or in the middle of a conversation with another adult she wants to tell you all about her day! :)

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