Like most parents, I want to know everything about my kids’ days when they’re away from me. Even though I am eager to drop them off and run away, I’m just as eager to know what they did and with who and how they felt about it as soon as they’re back in my care.
But, also like most parents, I’m dealing with kids who either aren’t sure how to communicate what they did, don’t remember what they did, or are flat out sick of their parents asking them what they did.
The other day, at preschool pick up, I said something to Michael that accidentally changed that challenging after-school dynamic.
“Michael,” I said as I strapped him into the car seat, “want to hear about my day?”
“Yes!” he exclaimed with surprise. “What you do, mama?”
“Well,” I said, “I did the laundry, cleaned out the coffee maker, wiped up the kitchen…”
“Yeah,” he said, “What else?!”
“Hmmm…I answered email, I worked on my blog, I edited a podcast, and then I came to get you!”
“Good job, mama! Today I played truck with Cameron, ate snack…”
Ah, I thought, that was interesting. And he’s still chattering about his day, something about freeze dance and trucks. Usually, if I inquire about his school day, even in the most nonchalant way, he answer with: I not gonna tell you!
So at Kate’s pick up, I decide to try this again.
I slide open the van doors, give her a hug and kiss and I say, “Kate, want to hear about my day?”
Her eyes go big, and she says, “Yes! Tell me!”
I launch into a similar list of items I told Michael that morning, sometimes even making things up because it’s not really about me.
I’ve tried this experiment or several days now, and I’m amazed at how it’s changed that reconnecting time after school. Instead of trying to force an answer out of them, I give them time to recharge and reconnect with me when I go first. After I get things moving, they’re eager to share their day.
How do you get your kids to share their day? What works for you?