What did you learn today?
Talking about what your child is learning is a subject worthy of discussion-at a later time. Do be involved in your child’s learning, let her know you care and are interested in what she learns, learn along with her, but save the talk until she brings it up or until it is a logical discussion during homework time or perhaps dinner.
Safest answer: “Nothing.”
When your kids get off the bus, climb in the car, or come through the door, welcome them back home. A big smile, a hug, a touch and an “I’m so glad to see you” or “Hi sweetie-pie” will give your kids the grounding that home provides with no expectations. Your unconditional happiness in greeting them will create the stress-free, safe haven they need to refuel and relax…and will set up the way the rest of the day goes – and how much you end up hearing about their day.
A happy greeting can wipe clean any negative emotions left from an earlier conflict that morning. If there was difficulty at school, your child will know that the problem is over for now and he can be himself. And if he’s not interrogated about school, he will feel free to bring up the topic when he needs a sounding board. If you are not always asking questions, you will set yourself up much better to be that sounding board he needs.
Try a smile, a hug, and a comment about how happy you are to see her period. Maybe tell her about something that happened during your day. You may find that dinnertime or bedtime will be full of all the information you want.
Your child needs a mindset shift, preferably into play mode, after a long day at school. Let that happen. There is plenty of time for what you want to know. Be patient and meet your child right where she is.
Confident Parents, Remarkable Kids: 8 Principles for Raising Kids You’ll Love to Live With can help you shift your perspective of your child and his behavior so that your anger can shift to compassion and understanding – frustration probably; annoyance undoubtedly, but much less anger.
Bonnie Harris is the director of Connective Parenting. She has been a parenting specialist for 30 years, is an international speaker, teacher and coach/counselor. Bonnie has written two books: “When Your Kids Push Your Buttons and What You Can Do About It” and “Confident Parents, Remarkable Kids: 8 Principles for Raising Kids You’ll Love to Live With“. Visit her website: www.bonnieharris.com and follow Connective Parenting on Facebook.