- Talking to your child about their day is a common concern for families.
- It’s important to put your child’s response in context given their age.
- Don’t get discouraged! It takes practice and repetition to develop any skill!
“Suzy can never tell me what she did at school today.” “Andrew doesn’t talk to me about his friends.”
Does this sound familiar, Parents? You are not alone! Talking to your child about their day is a common concern for families.
Overall, it’s important to put your child’s response in context given their age. If they are in nursery school, pre-K, or even kindergarten, the response, “I played,” is what you should expect most of the time. Unless Santa came to school that day or there was a firefighter assembly, “I played,” as a first response is pretty great!
If your child is a bit older (and still giving you one-worded responses), don’t get discouraged! Check out our top 5 tips to develop your child’s recall, interaction, and storytelling skills.
1. Begin with open-ended questions.
“Did you have a good day?” is tempting to ask. However, that lends itself to a simple “yes/no” response. End of conversation! Try opening the conversation with, “Tell me what you did today.” You may be surprised how much more details your child might offer. Give it a try!
2. Pry, mama, pry!
Get more details with guided questions. If you find that the conversation ends with “I played,” (for example), craft some specific questions. Give these questions a whirl:
“Who did you play with?”
“Where were you playing?”
“Were you pretending to be astronauts?”
“What did you have for snack?”
“Who else was at your table?”
Get specific and find creative ways to dig deeper!
3. Model, Model, Model.
It is important that you share your interests and exciting events to your child so he or she can begin to identify them in their own life. Here’s a quick exercise:
Think of 2-3 things you can tell your child about your day, and make sure you have their attention (think: drive home from school, dinner time).
The more your child is exposed to this story-telling routine, the more likely they are to try it themselves.
4. Find times in the day to practice conversation.
At your home, if your child has some free-play time perhaps before dinner, ask them to tell you what game they were just playing as they come to dinner. More exposure and more practice develops increased awareness and confidence with the storytelling skill!
(This is something we do quite frequently in speech therapy sessions. At the end of the session, I will ask the child to recall the activities we did and explain how we did them. Works like a charm!)
5. Involve teachers.
If your child has weekly/monthly themes, find these out from their teacher and include them in your guided questions (see Strategy #2). If your child is particularly interested about any of them, you can even explore these topics at home through books and the internet. Use your child’s artwork from school to spark memories and more storytelling. Some teachers may even be able to write you a note at the end of the day with unique events that occurred during the day.
I’ve found that oftentimes, younger children will have difficulty describing some of their own artwork, so I will begin to narrate and label what I see in their drawings, and then the urge to correct and get their point across will naturally kick in!
Give these strategies a try and let us know what you think! Call 301-718-1716 (Our Flagship Office) or email us if you need further support or more strategies to get you and your little one talking!
Janine Segner is a certified speech language pathologist practicing at Optimal Beginnings in Reston, Virginia and Bethesda, Maryland. She holds Master’s degrees in special education as well as speech language pathology. She has helped children with their communication challenges in school, inpatient and outpatient hospital, and private practice settings.