I just spoke to a neighbor. He’s a father of two teenaged sons. He told me that his sons play truant and it’s so serious that the headmaster sent him a letter informing him of his sons’ misconduct in school.
I asked him, “If you could turn back the time, what would you have done differently?”
Without a doubt, he pointed out communication is the key to preventing this and other related child discipline problems.
I told myself I don’t want to face this problem 10 years from now when my kids grow up into teens.
To achieve this, getting your child to share his day is crucial. It can make a huge difference in your kids’ life and yours too.
The benefits of getting your child to share his day
1) It creates an open communication channel between you and your child. Nothing is unexposed.
2) You’ll know what’s going on in your child’s life. If you find the need to jump in to help, you can. It’s better than you know nothing about what goes on in your child’s life. The worst nightmare is you get to know from a third party about some bad things you child had committed.
3) Brainstorm ideas to solving problems. If your child has a problem, both of you can sit down and brainstorm to come up with solutions. You can help your child improve his problem-solving skills. Happy and healthy parent-child relationship. Family who share, help and support each other will flourish. It’s the foundation to a happy family.
4) You show interest in your child. And your child feels you care about him too.
How to get your child to talk about his day
It’s possible to get your child to have a rundown of his day. Here are some tips to help you get started.
1) Start from as young as possible. The best is when your child starts talking. For our daughter, we get her to share her days when she’s four. But when we do that, every family member is involved, including my 20 months old son. Even though he can’t speak, but we want him to have a feel of what we are doing.
2) Fix a time for sharing. You can do it during dinner (That explains why having dinner together is so important). You can do it after you pick up your child from school. We do it before bedtime. We tried doing it during dinner but it doesn’t seem to work well for us. Regardless of when you do it, make sure it’s a routine for everyone. Be consistent.
3) Cut out distraction. No phone, no TV and no computers during the sharing. Everyone’s attention is on the one who is sharing.
4) Guide your child through with questions. It’s difficult initially for your child to share her day. They will say, “I can’t remember.” Be patient and ask them to think. Provide them with questions to help him talk. You may ask, “What did you do when you entered the building?”, “Who did you meet first”, “What did you eat for lunch?”, “Did anyone upset you today?” “Did you have a good day?” Use this technique with care as some kids don’t like the feeling of being “interrogated.” Don’t be upset if your child turns down your request. Maybe your child doesn’t feel like sharing that day. Try again next time.
5) Take turns. This is a biggie. My daughter was a bit hesitant when we first got her to share. But if I offered to share mine first, she would follow suit. Don’t just ask your child to share, take turns to share yours as well. I find it works better if you share first. They prone to get excited about your day and can’t wait to share theirs. It’s also good that your child gets to know what you do outside and who your friends are.
6) If my child shares a response that is similar to a situation I experienced as a child, we let them know that we too did the same thing as children. This really gets the communication going. And for some reason, kids love to hear what his father or mother did when they were small.
7) A good way to end the sharing. I always end the sharing with “That was my day… and now I am talking to you about my day…my daughter always bursts out laughing.
My daughter has not reached a stage where she’d share her day without asking everyday. But she’s getting there provided we do it consistently. Sometimes she shares without me asking. Sometimes she needs a push. However I will not force her to share if she doesn’t want to do it. But I will try #5 before I give up.
Update: After doing this for months (with some hiccups along the way, of course), sharing the day has become a routine in our family. If we forget, my daughter will remind us. What is amazing is my toddler son is catching up. Even though he can’t speak a complete sentence, he seems to know what we do and he will share his part using his own child language.