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One Question I Ask My Kids After School

My first daughter is a walking ray of sunshine. She wakes up happy and bubbly every day with energy that I can only dream of. She is loved by teachers, classmates and makes friends easily. But from a very young age, if I asked, "How was school today?" she would never care to answer. I realized quickly that the question was too broad, and I needed to ask in a different way to get answers, so instead I started asking:

Was everyone kind to you?

My goal with that question was to really ask, "How were your interactions today?" Since a three year old would not understand the word "interactions" but understood kindness, I revised the question. She understood and very quickly developed her own Likert scale of very kind, kind of kind and not so kind with hand gestures when she did not feel like saying much. This would then allow me to ask the who, what, when and/or why to get down to some of her issues.

By asking such a simple question, we have had such meaningful dialogue. It worked so well that I kept it up and my second daughter quickly learned what was being asked. The conversations can go from being downright funny, to spilling the classroom tea, and the positive and negative interactions of the day.

It really gives the girls the opportunity to unload the stresses of the day so that they can unpack the good, the bad and everything in between. We are able to revise how they can advocate for themselves, our rules on how we should expect others to treat us and how to set clear boundaries.

They have become quite adept in handling most situations to the point where my younger daughter who has been dealing with a kid who sometimes says unkind things to her—and pretty much all the other students—recently became very intent on telling me, "Mom, you don't need to talk to my teacher yet. I can handle it. I will be brave and keep speaking up for myself."

I was so proud of her in that moment. She showed that she wants to try to solve situations on her own with classmates as a first step and she knows that if it escalates, we can revisit the situation and handle appropriately.

Free and open dialogue will always be a win in my book.

How do you ask your kids about their day?


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