How to find out what your kids did at school

Oct 7, 2020

Starting school

Now that my son has started school, I’m back to asking that question, ‘what did you do at school today?’ Fortunately, he’s more forthcoming than his sister ever was. When I used to ask my daughter typical responses would be, ‘nothing’, ‘I don’t know’ and ‘I’m not telling you’. To be honest, it was a bit of a shock. Especially as I’d get a full run down when I’d pick her up from preschool!

I couldn’t understand why she didn’t want to share. After all, she loves talking. This was her opportunity to tell me everything and she would have my full attention. So, I asked Google.

I remember reading somewhere that it was all to do with control and power. The fact that they now have the power and control to let you into their world.

However, I’ve since been more educated and, apparently, there’s a lot more to it.

It’s also to do with their ability to understand what you’re actually asking them. Finding the words to tell you what they’re thinking. Then on top of that, the fact that they’re exhausted mentally and physically.

Here’s some insight based on what a Speech and Language Therapist has to say that one of my parent friends shared with me.


It’s not a simple question

We may think we’re asking a straightforward question but actually it takes a low of brainpower to respond. Whilst you’re waiting for your child to answer they are actually busy digesting what you’ve asked and also trying to formulate a response.

They’re trying to decipher what you actually mean. After all, a lot has happened. Just think about all the things they could have done during the day. Are you asking what they’ve learnt? Are you asking what they did at playtime? Are you asking what they had for lunch? Are you asking who they spent their time with?

Then they’re trying to remember what actually happened during the day. Remember they’ve been at school for 6 hours. That’s a long time for them.

And finally, they’re trying to find the right words to use.

If that all seems too difficult they’ll go for the easy option. ‘Nothing’, ‘I don’t know’ and ‘I’m not telling you’.

Be patient

I’m always eager to find out if they’ve had a good day and what they’ve been up to. However, just because I’m wanting to know now doesn’t mean it has to be now. Instead, why not give them some time. Maybe wait until you’re home.

I compare it to the times when I’ve been out of the house and then as soon as I get in they pounce. Asking me, ‘Do I know where they left their shoes?’, ‘When am I cooking their dinner?’ and ‘Can Laura come round for a playdate’

Do you see what I mean?

You first

But if you just can’t wait, then how about telling them about your day. This might help them to get their thoughts in order as well as remind them what happened during their day.

Tell them what you had for lunch. Tell them if you learnt anything new. Tell them if anything really challenged you today. Tell them how you’re feeling.

Make it fun

If they just don’t want to join in, but you’re bursting to find out just a little bit, then tease it out of them in a fun way.

Make it fun

Tell them what you think they did but get it completely wrong. Did they have bugs and worms for lunch? Did Mr Tumble teach PE today? Did carpet time involve standing on their heads?

They’ll either correct you or at worse just ignore you!

Be more specific

And then there’s just being very specific and keeping it very simple.

Did you enjoy your lunch? Did you learn any new letters? Did you play in the nature garden?

It’s not until we take time to think about what might be going on in our children’s head that we can start to appreciate how hard they’re brains are working. The amount of information they have to process. I know that my children are young but they can sometimes act more mature than their years. I then find myself using words that are unknown to them and having to either explain or use more simple vocabulary.

So next time you pick up the kids from school, pause before you ask them about their day.

How was your day?


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