How To Know How Your Child Is Fairing In School Without Asking Boring Questions

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There’s no denying that parents are very invested in their child’s academic lives. And they should be. After all, although good grades aren’t everything they can have a great deal of influence over your child’s life. What kind of college they can get into, what jobs they are eligible for, the salary they earn and their overall livelihood can be influenced by how well they do in school. But kids aren’t going to discuss their difficulties with you just because you are their concerned parent. In fact this might be the very reason why they may hesitate to tell you what they find challenging and what they excel at. And asking boring repetitive questions everyday won’t do anything to change this habit. But is there a better way to figure out how your child is fairing in school than asking them generic questions like “How was your day?” or “What did you learn?” Of course! In this article we will break down how you can stay clued into your child’s progress in school without having to go over boring questions that leave both them and you frustrated. Read on to know more.

1. Pay Attention To The Mood Your Child Is In

Pay Attention To The Mood Your Child Is In

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Before you even start to talk to your child and enquire about their day, check in to see what mood they are in. Sometimes kids just need some time alone after they’ve come back home to disengage from everything and calm down, just like adults do. If they’d rather be left alone for half an hour before having an engaging conversation again, allow them their space and take it up later. If they are younger, they’ve probably missed you and just want to be held. Hug them and just be present instead of pushing them to talk. Once they’ve got their energy back, you can have a light hearted conversation and then get into the important questions.

2. Start A Conversation Through Observation

Start A Conversation Through Observation

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If your child does not like talking to you about what is happening in school or has trouble starting that conversation for fear of being judged or nagged, share an observation and give them a topic to talk about. Not only does this come off as nonchalant and less planned but it will help your child talk to you plainly instead of putting up barriers and pretenses due to pressure. But this will only work if you then are open minded and don’t have any explosive reactions towards anything that your child divulges to you in these moments. It can be something about a class, a test or a specific teacher. Choose something they are interested in and then slowly inch the conversation towards topics that you want to touch on specifically.

3. Tell Them Something About Yourself

ell Them Something About Yourself

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Opening up to your kids about who you are, your childhood and your experiences and the life lessons you learnt from them is a great way to establish trust. Not only does this give them context to who you are but it also humanizes you. Sharing experiences and difficulties you faced as a child can help your child feel like their own struggles are valid and that they are not alone. Moreover, when we talk about ourselves, we give kids the opportunity to join in and contribute to the conversation. Even telling them about something interesting that happened to you at work or about the time you were a child will do the trick. There’s a chance the child will respond and you’ll learn how their day at school was.

4. Don’t Ask One Word Questions

Don’t Ask One Word Questions

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One mistake most parents make is to ask questions that can be answered in one word or one sentence. This is why the only thing you know about your child’s academic life is that it’s “fine” or “okay”, which isn’t an informative answer at all. Try asking more open ended questions instead. Instead of just enquiring about their day or how they are feeling, ask them what their favorite part of the day was. What is their favorite subject and why? Which part of the day are they not looking forward to? Such questions will challenge your little one to think and give you honest answers. Then you can discuss how to overcome the hurdles they are facing and what interests they’d like to pursue further.

Getting your kids to open up about their experiences in school be it related to academics or their social circle is hard. They can get closed off and secretive as the years go by and that is completely normal. As long as you are empathetic and willing to have an open line of conversation they will confide in you with a little coaxing. Happy parenting!

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Kezia John

Kezia holds a deep interest in writing about women adapting to motherhood and childcare. She writes on several topics that help women navigate the joys and responsibilities of being a new mom and celebrate every stage of their baby's development. When she is not writing for MomJunction, she sings in a classical Western choir and reads endlessly.