All across the country school is beginning. Labor Day officially marks the end of the summer for everyone. If you’re a parent, grandparent, or favorite neighbor, help the kids you interact with have a great school year by talking about what they love about school, focus on highpoint experiences, mutually positive friendships, and using their strengths!
Conversations with Kids
Kids are notorious for monosyllabic responses to our queries about how their day went. “Nothin’” or “Yeah” is often all we get. So, ask questions that take them by surprise, require a little more thought and a few more words:
- What was the best part of your day?
- What are five things you’re grateful for?
- What questions did you have at school?
- How did you use your superpowers?
- How were you a great friend or classmate?
With each one of these, follow up on whatever they answer, deepening understanding and helping them tell a great story about something that happened for them that was positive, uplifting, and strengthening. In the beginning it may be a little like pulling teeth, but over time, you’ll find these conversations come more easily and expand on their own. Your kids will anticipate your questions and begin paying attention to highpoints in their day, things they are grateful for, how they use their strengths, and what they are most curious about.
Conversations with Teachers
From time to time you’ll have the opportunity to interact with your child’s teachers at parent-teacher conferences and open houses. Early in the year, make an effort to have at least one personal interaction with your children’s teachers. Show you care about them having a good year and being successful. Ask how you and your family can support their aspirations.
Learn a bit about who they are and what their hopes and expectations are for the children in their classes. During the year and when appropriate, with permission from your child, share highlights from some of their highpoint experiences in the class. Teachers often hear only what’s wrong. Understanding what’s working well for kids reinforces those activities and lets the teacher know what they are doing is working.
When you meet to discuss your child, ask questions that support a positive educational experience:
- What do you see as my child’s strengths and how does he/she use them in class?
- What strengths does my child exhibit in working and playing well with other children?
- From what you know, how can my child best contribute to your class?
- If you had three wishes for my child, what would they be?
For additional questions you can ask your child or teacher, sign up for our newsletter!
Please share YOUR wisdom! Use comments below to share questions you’ve asked that generate great conversations with kids. What have you found as ways to engage with kids to help them have their best year yet in school?