Engaging Child Conversations

Engaging Child Conversations: The Kindergarten Edition

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.

Engaging Child Conversations on Pinterest
Engaging Child Conversations on Pinterest

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:

  1. How were you kind to people today?
  2. What did they give for snack time?
  3. Did you do more hopping or running during gym today?
  4. When was your teacher the happiest today?
  5. 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.

Sincerely,

Fullest Mom

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23 comments

  • Stacy Taylor

    My children are not in school yet. This advise is very helpful though as my oldest is just now starting to talk. I will use some of this advice
    In engaging with him. Thanks, love this post.

    Stacy Taylor
    • Post authorFullestMom

      Thanks for the love. It’s a fun time when they realize they have a voice. Trust me, they will talk your ear off. The key is timing and comfort. Enjoy all the new words.

      FullestMom
  • Ashley

    We still have a ways to go before kindergarten, but I try asking my toddler son thoughtful questions even though he cannot respond. I think if I start the habit now, we will have more meaningful conversations once he is able to respond.

    Great thought provoking post!

    Ashley
    • Post authorFullestMom

      It’s always good to teach open communication. Take things slow and let it flow naturally. Sometimes, kids are just in a quiet mood. Thanks so much for commenting. Have a great day.

      FullestMom
  • Christine - The Choosy Mommy

    These are really good questions to ask your children. Can I just ask if this is a photo of your actual son in his car seat? I only ask because his clip should be up at his chest, not his stomach. Just want to point it out because I’d feel terrible if something happened and I didn’t speak up. Bringing it up out of love XOXO

    Christine – The Choosy Mommy
    • Post authorFullestMom

      Oh my gosh, a true mom! I was laughing at myself because I debated if I should post it. The story behind the pic: He just got in the car. I was planning on showing Daddy how he comes out of school with stains; yet when asking, he says nothing happened. In full disclosure, this was before we took the car out of park. I let them belt up first, then I inspect.

      I’m going to agree with you. Speak up every time. You never know. Thank you for your care.

      FullestMom
  • Mary Barham

    My son just started prek…and he isn’t communicating very well.. it is so hard… Hopefully I can ask him questions soon!

    Mary Barham
    • Post authorFullestMom

      I think starting early is the key. Give them interesting conversations to spark more thoughts. Even if your child is generally on the quiet side, you can engage enough to figure the basics. I always find it fascinating to see how my child views the world. I try not to push too much but I admit to being goal oriented. Thanks for commenting and your feed back. Hopefully your little one will open up soon.

      FullestMom
  • Susan Croox

    This is a funny post to me because my firstborn has never required any conversation initiation, and my two youngest can barely string words together! In time, I’m sure I will value these tips.

    Susan Croox
    • Post authorFullestMom

      My son definitely needs a little more motivation to tell about his day. His usual quote is either fine, or he doesn’t remember. Big hugs for your littles, and thanks for commenting.

      FullestMom
  • Georgiana

    Those are great, specific questions to get a conversation started. I remember our oldest went through a period of time where she didn’t really want to engage about her day…until maybe a little later in the day instead of right after school. Now I can’t get her to stop, LOL!!

    Georgiana
    • Post authorFullestMom

      I agree. Once they learn the power of their words, they will not want to stop. There are times when I have to take the queues and just let them veg out for a while. After they are fed and played a little, then I go about striking up a conversation. Thank you so much for reading and commenting.

      FullestMom
  • Briana

    My daughter just started Kindergarten this year as well and she absolutely loves having conversations with me so I try to be as engaged as possible. These are excellent tips. Thanks for sharing.

    Briana
    • Post authorFullestMom

      Congratulations for your daughter’s trip to the big K. That is awesome that she is a sharer. Seems girls are more apt to talk than boys. (At least in my experience) Thank you for commenting. Have a nice night. Tell your little one to have a wonderful day at school tomorrow.

      FullestMom
  • Shann Eva

    Great ideas! It is always so hard to get my oldest to talk about his day. I need to find new questions to ask him, and I loved your examples. My twins, who are in preschool, fight over who can tell me about school first. 🙂

    Shann Eva
    • Post authorFullestMom

      That is too cute with your twins. That’s got to bring smiles that they love to share. With the oldest, just mix things up. It will come, but we all know at the child’s time. If your oldest is like my oldest, they need a little prodding. Thanks for your comments.

      FullestMom
  • Julie

    You’re right that the questions need to be asked in a way that requires more than a one word response. Great post!

    Julie
    • Post authorFullestMom

      Thanks, Julie. Changing up the questions, changes up the outcomes. Helps boost my son with his conversations.

      FullestMom
  • Nichole Snellgrove

    My son hasn’t started kindergarten yet but he goes to Mother’s Day Out on Tuesdays and Thursdays. He is still learning how to form sentences, which we are working on but I think these tips will really help me engage with him more. I love how much I learn from other moms and I really appreciate you sharing this. Thanks so much!

    Nichole Snellgrove
    • Post authorFullestMom

      Big claps for your son’s big steps. It’s a remarkable thing when they start expressing with affirmation how they feel. You get to understand so much more about them. Keep it up mama. Thank you for your kind comments and words.

      FullestMom
  • Shahira

    Who made you smile today? Did you make anyone smile today? Did anyone tell a funny joke? What did everyone bring fir snacks? What colour dress did your teacher wear? Was anyone absent in class today – Do you want to call that person and enquire (if a close friend)
    What games did you play today? Did you talk to the bus driver today?
    Some of the engaging questions from the top of my head.
    But then my baby is only 1 and I aventurine used these. But I do use it with my nephew

    Shahira
    • Post authorFullestMom

      Those are absolutely great questions. I like the suggestion of calling if the absent child is a close friend. Isn’t it amazing to see how they bond. Thanks for commenting. Take care.

      FullestMom
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