08 Dec 2021

Leitrim Mammy Diaries: A different approach to after school questions

Leitrim Mammy Diaries: A different approach to after school questions

This is not the Spanish inquisition - try an alternative approach to 'How was school today?'

Well, how was school today? What did you learn? Who did you talk to? What happened ... hello?!

My daily quest for information is being met with radio silence or one syllable answers from my junior Infant - w hich leaves me to believe that either my daughter sits in a room and does nothing for 4-5 hours a day at school or whatever she is doing may be top secret and need military clearance before a report can be issued.

Our experience of first day of school was a major success, no tears, no tantrums only smiles and excitement. Even the second day went smoothly, our almost five-year-old bounced into school and there were tales of who she sat beside, what they played and sang and even some of the new 'school rules'.

But with just over one week completed, the realisation has hit home that this 'big school' thing is no holiday. The bounce is gone, and while she seems relatively happy going to school, we have no other information to base that guess on.
She won’t tell us who she is sitting beside, who she played with at lunchtime, what the teacher said or even what picture they coloured in - we are dealing with what we call in the paper industry a media blackout!

This is not a unique problem, I know many parents suffer the same issues so here are some tips we are trying out and some alternative questions to get the conversation flowing … hopefully.

It is trial and error to see what part of the day is best to attempt a conversation, just out the gate information is fresh, but kids are tired. After some rest and food seems like the best time but it is important there are limited distractions and you are not looking at your phone or in a rush.

Sharing is caring, so try the approach of giving a little information about your day to hopefully be given a bit in return.

At dinner time we go around the table and everyone has to tell a story from their day - this has proven quite tricky for my two-year-old who struggles to say much more than “mine” but is a solid idea for older children.

Pretend play school with toys may help to see school from their point of view.

At bed time my daughter and I tell each other our favourite part of the day and something that we didn’t like that happened, sometimes we also talk about what we are looking forward to.

Alternative questions:

  •  What was the best/ worst thing that happened at school today?
  •   Did anything/ anyone make you laugh at school?
  •  Was it anyone’s birthday this week?
  •  Who would you like/ not like to sit beside in class and why?
  •  Did you hear a new word today?
  •  What is your favourite part of school?
  •  Did you draw/ colour any pictures today, what were they about?
  •  If your teacher had to leave which class mate could take over?
  •  Did anyone break the rules today? What did they do?
  •   What did your friend have for lunch today - would you like that?
  •  What happens if you break the rules?
  •  Did you find anything difficult to do today?
  •  Was anyone sad today - why?
  •  What is the biggest difference between this year and last year at school?
  •  Did you see (enter name) at break time?
  •  What annoys you about school?
  •  Does anyone pick their nose/ burp out loud/ shout a lot?

Also read: Enter at your own risk- Terrible Twos ahead

Are you ready for school?

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