“Ok, it’s time to start getting ready for bed. After your bath, brush your teeth and get your pajamas on. It’s getting late.”
If you have a bedtime routine, pat yourself on the back. Bedtime routines are so vital, especially for young children. Consider adding one more step to your bedtime routine. Give your kids a chance to tell you about their school day.
Remember that if your child is in school all day, your teacher is with your son or daughter for an average of 30 hours a week. That’s almost the equivalent of a full work week. You’ve missed quite a bit of time with your child.
Make an effort to keep the communication free flowing. If you set good habits while your child is young, it’ll be easier to talk about just anything as the years pass. For starters, don’t ask yes or no answers. You don’t want to establish a nightly Q & A, but rather two-way communication.
Sometimes “tell me about your day” doesn’t generate much conversation. You could begin with, “tell me five things that happened today; recess and lunch don’t count.” That is usually a great ice breaker. Kids learn real quickly that if you don’t ask, they’re not telling.
In addition to asking what was for lunch, ask who your child sat next to. Who did they play with at recess? What did they play during recess? Was anyone sick today? Did anything funny or embarrassing happen to anyone in school today?
Sometime it is difficult to keep track of the specials. By specials I mean: gym, music, art, computer lab, etc.; the extra classes that usually take place with a different teacher outside of the main class-room. Keep a cheat sheet if you need to; ask what activity they did in gym.
If you can get your child to tell you about someone who may have had a hard time (in gym, with math, with reading aloud, etc.) it is a great segue for a life lesson in difficulties and hurt feelings.
It really doesn’t matter what you talk about; it’s more important that you talk. Make talking about your kid’s day a regular part of the bedtime routine; you’ll be surprised what you learn!