Engaging Child Conversations: The Kindergarten Edition
My son started kindergarten this year. It’s been exciting; but, there are times when I wonder what really happened during his day. I mean, when I pick him up, he comes into the car with the knees of his khaki pants totally stained. His folder is full of indiscernible doodles. And there’s still ketchup on his chin. Sure, I can ask his teacher. However, we all know we are not reading how to engage a teacher. No, my friends. This post is specifically for engaging CHILD conversations, the kindergarten edition.
To begin, we set the tone.
Before anything, I make sure the radio is down and that there are no major distractions. Just as important, I am adamant about greeting my child with a hug and a kiss. It is vital to provide a setting, and a mindset, that is kind and inviting. Additionally, I like to make sure my child is comfortable, literally and figuratively speaking.
Foregoing any conversation, I think about my tone. A common technique for engaging child conversations is to match the tone of the child. So, whatever emotion my son expresses, I reflect with similar pitch and speed. This conveys a message of understanding, as well as interest.
Then, we ask the right questions.
As a mom, my main goal it to figure out if my child is happy; and, if he is treated fairly. To do so, the best approach is to ask simple, open ended questions.
Don’t even think of asking the standard, “How was your day?”
I’m not judging. I’m just being real. If you ask your kindergartener that, you will not be engaging child conversations. Instead, you’re always going to get the typical reply of, “Fine.” Try to reach deeper into your child’s mind. Try incorporating a little unexpectedness.
Some examples are:
- How were you kind to people today?
- What did they give for snack time?
- Did you do more hopping or running during gym today?
- When was your teacher the happiest today?
- What did you talk about during lunch?
Incomplex questions, like the above, set the momentum for conversation. Keep things light and simple; and, focus in on queues that your child is tapped out.
Finally, we soak in the data.
The final part of engaging child conversations is to process the data. For me, getting my child to open up about his school day has taught me so much. I get to really understand all that he is learning, including the lessons that go way further than the school curriculum. On top of all that, I am included in his thoughts about new friends, day to day challenges, and how he feels about life in general. It’s very rewarding to stay bonded with my son.
Please feel free to give some of your example questions. I’d like to know your feelings toward engaging child conversations.