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!