Tell me about your day…Please (revisited)

Last year I wrote a post “Tell me about your day…Please!” Things haven’t changed much since then. During the summer our son was in the YMCA Summer School Age Care program. The Y staff were phenomenal. Every week they sent home a detailed schedule of events. Every day they outlined every part of the kids’ day on a giant dry erase board. This I loved. This is the next best thing to having a webcam on my kid throughout the day. You see, I’m the kind of mom that would like (in a perfect world) a classroom webcam…and gymnasium, library and computer lab webcams. I’m interested in what interests (and doesn’t) him. I love to know how my son is doing…down to the smallest detail. Imagine how frustrated I feel when he comes home and will only ever willingly tell me his day was “good.” No matter what happened at school. Period. He gets to take his picture with the Packers’ Super Bowl trophy=good. Field trip to a new and wildly fun waterpark=good. Awesome & unusual birthday treat=good (well, he might tell me about treats). Super dynamic, guitar-toting substitute teacher=good. Sigh. So you see, web cams aren’t really unreasonable. Today I thought I’d re-read last year’s post to see if I could shake things up a little bit.

Let’s review and update last year’s list of suggested ways to get your kids to talk about their day:

(answers in bold are 2012 answers)

  • Ask open-ended questions like “What did you do at school today?” and not “yes” or “no” questions like “How was your day today?” (Doesn’t work) Still doesn’t work
  • Asking a specific question about a part of the day, “Who did you sit next to at lunch?” or “What did you do after circle time?” (Sometimes, rarely, works) Works if I am very specific, “Who sat right across from you? Who sat on your right?” Not fun and makes me feel like a drill sergeant.
  • Giving multiple choice questions (don’t laugh!) like “Did you play in the sandbox, build with blocks or draw pictures today?”. (I get information, but not much) I do get some results with this and it’s more fun than the Drill Sergeant gig.
  • Being incredibly silly, “What did you do today in school? No! Wait! Don’t tell me….I know! You went to China on a camel! No, no. that can’t be right…you took a boat across the ocean all the way to France and climbed the Eiffel Tower!” Sometimes works. Sometimes works and is still more fun than the Drill Sergeant gig.
  • I’ve tried telling him about my day instead. (Didn’t work) Still doesn’t care, but listens and regurgitates it out of context at the most inopportune times.
  • I give him time to decompress and wait until bedtime to talk about his day (Doesn’t work, I forget) Works if he’s not too tired.
  • I ask him which friends he played with and then what did he play with them. (Sometimes works) This has worked better so far this school year.
  • Reverse psychology, ”Don’t tell me about your day!” (Sometimes works) I haven’t tried this one yet this year…I’ll have to use it this week.
  • Setting the scene in the morning, before school, “Your mission today is to remember one funny thing that happened at school today!” (Doesn’t work) I haven’t yet used this one, but I think this year it may work if I present it as a memory challenge. The kid loves competition.
  • Have him shout his day back to me. What kid doesn’t like to shout? Might be a winner. I’ll have to try it again.

I’m looking for tips that work or worked for you. Stalking the teacher doesn’t count. I know you must have something I can use.

Note: After I wrote this post and had it all wrapped and ready to post in the morning, my son volunteered a bunch of information about his day and what he’s learning in school. I had barely recovered from the shock when I opened my email to see that his teacher had sent a detailed chart outlining their daily schedules. Not webcams, but we’re getting closer!

Categories: Family, Kids, School | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “Tell me about your day…Please (revisited)

  1. Jen Holtebeck

    I’m getting a dose of this also this school year! On the first day of school I wanted to hear EVERY detail, but all I got out of Elise was that she thinks I should buy corn dogs (the hot lunch on the first day, and something she’s never had before) and that she played Rapunzel at recess with some of her friends from 4K and got to be the horse (this is a good thing in her world). I love that her teacher has a blog where she posts 4-5 picutres with short captions. So far she’s done this every day. I may try some of your techniques, since I think web cams in public schools are a no-no!

    • I would love a classroom daily blog! But how does she find the time? That’s impressive.

      • Jen Holtebeck

        I don’t know that she keeps up the daily part all year long. And I don’t think it takes long to do — she just has to upload 4-5 pictures and write a sentence about each one.

  2. NPR featured a piece about voice recording kids (nod to your prevoius blog). Anyhoo, in the segment the woman’s daughters would leave her voice mails. She said that she learned a great deal more about them in those vms because they set the agenda (talked about what they wanted). Maybe you could have him keep a digital voice recording journal of his own. You could of course listen to.

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