As any parent would know, there are many, many frustrating things about raising children. From having to repeat yourself 10 times before they listen to finding out that you have porridge goop crusted onto your shirt half way through the work day.
We won’t even talk about that time your sweet cherub shouted, “WHY IS THAT MAN SO FAT?” at the top of his lungs. Then in case it you didn’t want the Earth to swallow you whole the first time, they repeat it even louder for posterity. That didn’t happen to us this weekend at all. It also didn’t result in us wanting to melt into the ground and maybe tape up his mouth for like, the rest of his life.
You know what’s more frustrating than all of that?
After years of knowing every single move your toddler makes – every up and every down, you send them off to school. Suddenly you have no idea what happens to them every day. What are they doing? Who do they play with? Were their friends nice or do we have issues brewing? What are they learning? How can I help them continue the learning at home. What made them laugh? Did they cry? Who do you have to hunt down for making your sweet, little, innocent poppet cry?
You know what I mean.
And with all this desperate need to know ALL ABOUT THEIR DAY, you finally collect them after a long day, set aside a moment to connect with your kid and ask them how it all went. Waiting for the blow by blow low down on their day. And you get…
“It was fine”.
Are you kidding me? Are you freaking kidding me right now? That answers absolutely NONE of the questions floating around my head and flat out punches the heart questions in the face.
I moaned about this whole fiasco to a new mom friend from Kylas school and she mentioned that she had read a great post about how school is a super challenging situation for them. It’s something I hadn’t considered before. The fact that they leave us for so long, how they think about us a lot during that time (well I’d like to think they do) and then add to that the fact that they have to be on their best behaviour the whole day and constantly get loaded with new information. That’s a lot for a little person to take on. Some deal with it better than others, but there are many children to struggle to decompress when they get home.
Now, while you will not find me taking a bite out of my kids sandwiches as the article suggests, (because what the actual flip?) I am making a few changes of my own.
How to get more than just, “It Was Fine” from your child after a long day:
- Let them decompress. Gosh, you don’t have to tell me how hard it is not to bombard them with questions as soon as you see them, but this has NEVER worked for me. Instead, we change the topic. We watch an hour of TV, we swim, we read a book or we build a puzzle. And if they’re keen for it, we have a bit of a cuddle too. Sometimes even when they’re not keen for it too – nothing like the sneak cuddle attack to get your mind off a long day at school.
- Set aside time for homework. We won’t talk about the amount of times Kyla actually did her homework last year, because, well, it wasn’t much. This year we have two that need to get into homework, so instead of trying to do everything at once and failing, we set aside a time slot from 3 – 3.30 or 3.30 till 4. That way I’ve programmed my mind to be chill, supportive and patient. During homework time, we chat a bit about what they did during the “school” part of the day – the homework triggers all the little memories of things that the teacher said etc.
- A family that has dinner together, hears all about the school day. Look, I don’t get a lot right, but one thing we stick to. is having dinner around the table in the evenings. Usually we’d just talk about nonsense, but I’ve now made an effort to engage with them about their day. No just “How was your day?” but a bit of a debrief. I go first and tell them everything that I did that day, from being stuck in traffic to the annoying meeting. Then they suddenly open up and give me exactly what I’ve been looking for. JACK POT!
And then I can’t get them to stop talking – a problem I never thought I would ever have.
Do you have any secret tips to get your kids to talk about their day?