This guest post comes to us courtesy of local parenting coach and new author, Tom Limbert. I posed this question to him myself, and he came back with some practical tips. (Some of you may know Tom– and his guitar– from Studio Grow, which he co-founded.)
- Don't ask, “How was your day?” It's so instinctive, I know. But your child doesn't like it any more than Kramer on Seinfeld. For different reasons: it's just too vague and she wouldn't know where to begin to quantify it all.
- Be Specific! You want to ask specific questions that spark a conversation: make sure a one-word answer would not suffice. “What was the best part of your day?”, “What did you do after lunch?”, “What book did you read?” Then, be sure to listen enthusiastically!
- Get an Anecdote from a Teacher. Go ahead and graciously ask his teachers for an anecdote. Tell them that you want to have a meaningful conversation with your child. Your teachers will eat it up! (As a former preschool teacher, I know I don't need to tell you to be sure to thank them.)
- Use a Friend. What are friends for? Ask your child what Rebecca did outside. Follow-up on a previous story about a classmate's endeavors. It will be easier for your child to relate a story about someone else. No friends yet? Every child develops at his own pace and every classroom has an interesting child to talk about.
- Live and Learn. Ask your child what the worst part of the day was. Be careful not to give too much attention and energy to negativity, but do focus on solutions together! Ask her what she can do next time and help her articulate the lesson without judgment.
Tom is currently offering a discount to 510Families readers on his parent coaching services. He invites you to try the Foundation Package, a 90-minute meeting, at a time and location of your convenience. This session includes the delivery and review of Tom’s Foundation Fundamentals and a discussion of how they apply to your family and your current challenges. Regularly $150, you'll save $25 when you tell him you read about him on 510Families.com. (Discount expires 8/1/12)
top photo: Maggie Gieseke