If you were lucky enough to have family dinners growing up as a child you probably remember family check in. Each person goes around the table and say’s what happened during your day. As a young child or teenager you might have disliked this daily check in.
As a parent you probably cherish this time of day because this maybe the only time you can get full sentences out of your child’s mouth. So, how do you get your child to tell you about their day?
1. Start young. Get into the habit of sharing your day with your child. They are never too young to start this practice. Even if they are 1 or 2 years old and in the repeating stages of their lives. Ask the questions “Did you have fun?” The replay may only be “have fun”. It’s getting into the habit of communicating with you. Make a big deal about their day and how it is interesting for you.
2. Schedule the Time: We all know life can get pretty busy. If family dinners are not on the menu then bring your check in time at the end of the day. No matter how busy your life is, you can find ten minutes to check in with your child and see how their lives are going.
3. Create Guidelines: Let your child know why it’s important to hear about their day. Let them know one word answers is not enough and that you want to hear more than “I don’t know”. Let them know you care by setting expectations for communication. For example, when we pick up our daughter from school we say “I can’t wait to hear about your day”.
4. Watch for the signs. Be aware that sometimes your child might have troubling times at school or even at home. Pick up on the signals if it something they don’t want to talk about with multiple people around. Circle back later in the day when you have some one on one time with them and try addressing the issue again.
5. End on a positive note. It’s a great idea to end the meal or your talk with “hopes of tomorrow”. This will teach your child to have a positive outlook and to set goals for what they want in the future. It will also give you a closer look into what they like and don’t like. And help you keep on top of what’s current in their lives.