Tips on talking to your kids

Kid rolling eyes (from a random tip from the folks at your friendly Home and School Association, prompted by a discussion at our last monthly meeting (which you missed, I suspect, since we have a sign-in sheet).  So it turns out…if you’d like to hear more about your kid’s day (or life), don’t ask questions like, “How was school?” or “How was your day?”  Instead, ask a question that you are actually interested in (or more interested in, at least).  For example, “Did your science teacher mention the asteroid that might hit us this weekend?” or “Who is winning the Biggest Loser competition so far: Middle School or High School teachers?”  If you can’t think of anything you’re sincerely curious about, then ask a specific question such as, “Do you have anything for me to sign today?”  or, “It’s been at least a week since I’ve sent a check into school — are you sure I’m up to date?”  If nothing interesting or specific comes to mind, just say, “hey” or “fondue for dinner in 1 hour; don’t snack or I’ll make gruel, instead” (or whatever), and be satisfied with the single-word answers you will most likely get back.  The truth is, when kids feel adults are just making small talk, they roll their eyes inside their heads, if not their actual eyes.  And if that interaction happens every single day, for years on end, they will end up dreading the routine and will progressively say less and less as a way to train you to make the time as short as possible.  By the way, the discussion at the Home and School meeting was prompted by a This American Life segment (“How to Talk to Kids“) that aired a few weeks ago.  Give it a listen if you’re interested.

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