"How was your day?" How parents can get a response!


The school year has begun, and, as parents, we are intensely curious about what is going on in the minds, hearts, and lives of our children during those hours they are away from us.  We try to act nonchalant as we query, "How was your day?", but we are anything but!

One-word responses (O.K....fine) seem to be the norm.  Or, we get an immediate defensive posture, "Why do you ask me this every single day?!  I don't want to talk about it!" ...or a simple, "Leave me alone!"  Rarely do we receive rich and interesting details of the school day.

Christine Carter, author of Raising Happiness and The Sweet Spot, just wrote a blog that provides three suggestions as to how to encourage some dialogue:

  • Set aside 10 minutes a day for "special time"
  • Be honest about why you want to hear about school. [This is going to require some introspection!]
  • Ask them about the worst part of their day.

Intrigued?  Read the complete article here: http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_to_get_your_kid_to_talk_about_what_happened_at_school

As I thought about Carter's third suggestion, I realize that I already do that with a few of the kids in my neighborhood.  I use a "tool" adopted from the Ignatian tradition of reflection called the Daily Examen.  The main idea is that we sit silently for a couple of minutes and consider the day asking ourselves two questions: what we are most grateful for and what we are least grateful for.  The highs and the lows...so-to-speak.  Then we take a few minutes to share with one another.  The idea of taking time to pause and reflect is kind of foreign for many of the kids I know.  It's amazing what happens when this space is created.  Typically, I find that some kids can quickly articulate what they are least grateful for, but find it difficult to express what they are most grateful for.  The opposite is true as well.  Yet, I don't let them get away with sharing only one end of the spectrum.  The extra mental effort yields good fruit.

Try one or more of these suggestions and let me know what you discovered.  And if you have another suggestion to stimulate interaction about the school day, please share it!


About Author

Page Cvelich

College/Teen Program Manager

Page Cvelich has brought a wealth of knowledge to the Work/Life Center from prior experience as a high school guidance counselor and parent education coordinator. Page has been responsible for setting up a high school college and career center, designing a career exploration program for teens and serving as a counselor at a backpacking camp in the Rockies. In her role as Teen/College Program Manager, Page enjoys interacting with small groups of parents and teens, as well as consulting one-on-one with parents and referring them to resources so that they are better able to provide the support and encouragement their kids need.

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