By Lauren Pastrana

MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Depending on which South Florida county you live in, you’re either three days or one week into the new school year.

For some of you, your children are eager to discuss every single detail of their day with you.

But for others, opening up about school isn’t so easy.

Today’s “Lauren’s List” has some tips for helping your kid talk about school.

  1. Ask open-ended questions- My son is only 4, but if I ask him a yes or no question, I’m going to get a yes or no answer, no matter how much he usually loves to talk. According to Andrew Lee with Understood.com, a website about education and attention issues, says you should be specific. Rather than ask if your child had a good day in general, ask specific things like “What is the best thing you did in school today?”
  1. Start with a factual observation- Being peppered with questions from my son the second I get out of work can be overwhelming, and the same is true for kids just getting out of a long, and sometimes challenging day at school. Lee suggests starting with a factual observation, so questions don’t seem like they’re coming out of the blue. For example- you can say “I see you have a lot of new students in your class this year. What’s that like?”
  1. Share something about yourself- Conversations are a two-way street, and you have to “give” to “get”. Tell your child something about yourself that they may  be able to relate to, and it may make them more comfortable to return information in kind. Say something like “My favorite book in school was The Count of Monte Cristo, what’s your favorite book so far?”
  1. Avoid negative questions- As parents, we worry about out kids. If we see them stressed, our instinct is to ask “Did you have a bad day?”, “Did you get a bad grade?”, “Are you being bullied?” Not only are those closed-ended questions, they’re also negative and can trigger an emotional or defensive response. Say “I know you were studying for that spelling test, how did it go?” This opens the door to actual communication and shows your child you are simply coming from a place of concern.

Is your child a chatterbox or do they give the silent treatment after school?

Tell Lauren on Facebook or Twitter.

If you have an idea for a future “Lauren’s List,” send it to lpastrana@cbs.com.

 

Lauren Pastrana

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