The conversation between parents and children after a long day at school is a crucial time for family connection. However, psychologists warn that conventional questions like “How was school?” how was your day?" may not be the most effective.
According to Dr. Linda Papadopoulos, a prominent psychologist, writer and presenter, these generic questions often result in superficial responses, such as “yes, everything was fine”, without offering meaningful insights into the day of child.
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Child psychologist Martha Deiros Collado corroborates this view, explaining that after a day full of activities and learning, children, like adults, need time to disconnect and relax.
They seek moments of leisure, play and rest, and not necessarily an immediate review of their day.
Parents’ perspective and children’s reality
Deiros Collado notes that many parents ask these questions out of curiosity and a desire to connect with your children, especially considering the limited time you spend together during the days of the week.
However, she points out that children's responses are often short or uninterested, a similar reaction to what many adults had when questioned in the same way in infancy.
Choosing the right time to talk
For effective communication, Deiros Collado emphasizes the importance of patience. She suggests that parents should wait until the child feels ready to share their experiences.
The expert advises parents to focus on the pleasure of the reunion, observing body language and children's emotions, which may indicate the appropriate time to start a more deep.
Techniques for starting more meaningful conversations
Dr. Papadopoulos believes timing is key. She suggests avoiding immediate questions, such as as soon as the child gets into the car, and waiting for a calmer time, such as bedtime.
During this period, children are generally more relaxed and open to conversations. With younger children, she suggests starting a joint activity, such as modeling with clay or drawing, which can lead to a more spontaneous and less formal conversation.
Encouraging dialogue with strategic questions
Deiros Collado and Papadopoulos agree that sharing details about Father's Day itself can encourage children to do the same.
They advise avoiding questions that lead to binary answers of “yes” or “no” and suggest formulating questions that begin with “what,” such as “What made you laugh today?” or “What was the best part of your day?". These questions tend to encourage more detailed and reflective responses.
Discussing emotions and experiences
Both experts highlight the importance of talking about emotions with children. Questions like “Did you feel sad today? What made you feel better?” or “Were there any difficult moments today that you overcame?” can provide valuable insights into emotional experiences and challenges faced by children, promoting more empathetic and deeper communication between parents and children.