Kids pick up on your anxiety, so try not to lead with stressful questions, says Maureen Healy, author of Growing Happy Kids. Instead of jumping right in on that spelling test you’re dying to know about, begin with easy, relaxing questions that give him space to open up.
Keep the Questions Open-Ended
“How was your day?” might not be a yes-or-no question, but the answer is still usually only one word. Instead, ask something specific. What was the best part of your day? What was the worst? What made you laugh? Try something that doesn’t allow for an automatic answer.
Sometimes kids aren’t in the mood to talk, and that’s okay, says Healy. Give your child time to settle after school — if she doesn’t seem chatty, ask to connect later. Another way to go: Create a sharing routine for the whole family where everyone says one thing they loved about their day before dinner.
“Once a child starts to talk, that’s when parents need to keep quiet,” says Healy. “You may be tempted to ask more questions, but give your child a solid three to five minutes of uninterrupted time to tell you about his day.” Your patience will pay off.
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