Most common parent complaint about school – “my kids don’t tell me anything!”

School just started and Facebook is happily flooded with back to school photos taken by proud parents.  My son is now in SK and will be in the same class as a few of my neighbour’s kids.  The parents were eager to make a pact to share the stories of the classroom since since so very little information flows from the little ones.

However, I recalled that last year I thought I cracked the code on JK interrogation and had tons of stories about the intricate social dynamics from the classroom and playground.  I didn’t have a chance to do many drop-offs or talk to the teachers or parents much, it’s just that my son was talking to me about it.

Of course, my first attempts weren’t so fruitful.  After getting back from work I’d put my stuff down and after saying hello would ask a few questions about how everyone’s day went.  OK, nothing – nada.  Ah, a few google searches later and I knew what I was doing wrong – can’t ask an open ended question like that, be more specific with the questions.  “Which games did you play?”  “Did you see Jordan today?”  “Which letter did you learn about today” were anserwed with “I can’t remember”  “I’m too busy right now” and total disregard.

Well finally, I stumbled upon the solution as I was putting him to bed.  Every night he asks me to read a story and stay in the room for an extra minute after the lights go out.  Well, one day I got him to bed early so I thought I would have some conversation during that minute.  Never heard him talk so much and so descriptively EVER.  I learned of the activities he did, what snacks he liked and didn’t like and all the interpersonal dynamics that were going on.  Even in JK there was a wolf-pack that had been established and everyone knew their pecking order.  Eye-opening stuff for sure and a bit scary but in the end, I was so happy that I at least knew what was going and would know things got astray.  I guess that’s the one moment in the day he’s not distracted and wants to talk to keep us in the room.

Since then, my wife and I take turns at bedtimes and get excited about sharing those golden nugget stories we get just before bedtime.  I don’t know if this will work for every child but I certainly learned it’s about WHEN you ask, not WHAT you ask.

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