As any parent with school-aged children will tell you, when they ask their child what they did all day at school the usual response is often, ‘Nothing’, ‘I can’t remember’ or ‘Stuff’.  This can leave you feeling frustrated and a little concerned, have they really done nothing ALL day?

Have they really not been enriched by education, learnt new skills and read wonderful prose? Well, in short, no, they haven’t, as the wonder of primary education, particularly reception, is that it’s not meant to feel like education; it’s meant to feel like fun. So how do you coax out of your child what they’ve been up to all day and ensure you’ll be giving them positive responses?

Other things to ask

‘How was your day?’ is a question that your child usually hears as ‘hello’ and doesn’t require more than a one-word answer.

However, if you frame it differently, you can start a conversation.  Rather than asking them a question, comment on the weather or a fact around the topic you know they’re working on that term.

Equally, turn it around and ask them to teach you what they’ve learnt.  “Wow, I’d love to learn about the Fire of London, I don’t remember doing that when I was at school.  Could you teach me what you know?“

Be specific

Talking around a subject can be difficult for little minds.  Remember, they’re tired, they’ve been busy all day and they don’t want to feel like the Spanish Inquisition is asking them about their day.

Instead, make it relaxed, ask them what they had for lunch today and would they like to make it together at home. Or who did they play with and what did you play?

As they get older the questions need to change.  What about questions like:

What made you smile today?

What’s the latest word everyone is using?

What’s the most popular game at break time?

What was the best thing that happened today?

How many times have you laughed today?

What questions did you ask the teacher today?

What did you do that made you feel proud?

There’s a whole list of these here.

Encouraging your child to talk and interact with you and others is a huge asset for them later in life.  It helps build their confidence and gives them exceptional people skills.  By encouraging conversation of any kind they get used to talking, they don’t feel pressure to come up with something to say as it’s natural for them to talk to you.

With so many children growing up in a virtual world, it’s vital that you talk to your children and give them the room to reply.  If they’ve taken a test and it hasn’t gone as well as it could have gone, ask them how you can help them to add a few extra marks.  Discuss why they found it difficult and come up with solutions together to boost it next time.

Praise their achievements and set goals for the next one.  This is a great way to keep conversation up and when they come home with a recognition certificate or have earned good marks, make sure you let them know how proud you are.

Just remember, it’s good to talk!