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Mom's Talk Question: How do I get my Child to Tell me What's Going on at School?

We ask. You answer. Share your experiences, questions in our online discussion.

"So how was school today?"

"Fine."

How many times have you received that answer?

How do you get your kids to share their school day? As they grow older and seek more independence, how do you keep them engaged in your desire to know more?

Certainly the way you phrase a question is a key. The more specific it is, the easier it is for your child to answer and potentially start a conversation. Stay away from questions that can be answered with one word responses.

Such as, "What was fun?" "What tips did your teacher give you for the math homework?"

Share what has worked for you, or what hasn't.

QUESTION: How do I get my child to tell me what's going on at school?

ANSWER: You tell us. Login in the upper right hand corner. It's free and only takes about 20 seconds. Then comment on this article. Share your views and get some advice. Suggest future questions for discussion.

Lake Forest-Lake Bluff Patch invites you and your circle of friends to help build a community of support for mothers and their families right here in Lake Forest and Lake Bluff.

Every Wednesday in Moms Talk, our Moms Council of experts and smart moms take your questions, give advice and share solutions.

Moms, dads, grandparents and the diverse families who make up our communities will have a new resource for the thousands of issues that arise while raising children.

So grab a cup of coffee and settle in as we start the conversation today with a question from the Lake Forest-Lake Bluff Patch's Mom's Council.

The Lake Forest-Lake Bluff Moms Council will share their insights along with you.

Robin Bermel September 21, 2011 at 06:50 PM
I sure wonder about this one, especially as they get older. From time to time I ask my daughter a "have you ever felt..." question, like "have you ever felt bullied?" or "have you ever felt scared..." It seems easier for kids to open up after a situation has passed. And then she will see (hopefully) that it helps to talk to her mom about it; that maybe I can be a source of help and comfort!
Nina Vallone September 21, 2011 at 10:29 PM
Oh, the ever frustrating "nothing." I know, logically, the best way to get the kids to open up is to phrase properly and let them talk at their own pace. But as a mom, it can be maddening! One thing I've noticed more than anything is that after school, if I am 100 percent present, my kids have more of the gift of gab than when they walk in and I'm on the phone, or checking email. It seems if I am a fly on the wall, I hear about random things about the day. I try to listen more than give an opinion, unless I'm asked for one, as nothing shuts up a kiddo quicker than a meddling mom!
Megan Morris September 22, 2011 at 03:34 AM
Trying to be totally present when they get home really helps. No phone, computer, or mail. Starting with a specific question that's a fun topic usually get them going too! "How many boys did you have playing soccer at lunch today?" or "what projects are you doing in art now?". Sitting with them, making clear eye contact, seems to get the point across that I'm all ears. Also driving one on one in the car lends itself for good conversations. It does seem my girls are more eager to give details than my son. If the teachers only knew how much gets shared! One of my daughters wants me to purchase a specific shampoo because her teacher shared how soft it makes her hair feel! So sometimes TMI!
shelley September 27, 2011 at 05:39 PM
Speaking to one child at a time without siblings present is very helpful. Also, the best way to obtain information prior to getting their driver's license, is to drive your child with his/her friends in your car. The floodgates open when they are talking to each other. And, your child's friends will answer your questions much more readily than will your own child. It becomes increasingly more difficult as they get older, but it is possible to extract the information from them. You have to time it right. Know your own child and be in tune to when they are most likely to talk to you. You will hit the jackpot if you know when to strike.

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