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Ask a preschooler how her day was and you're likely to get a one-word answer. It's hard for little minds to reflect on what's happened in their lives – especially when half the time they can't even be bothered to slow down and listen to your questions. But sharing what you do when you're away from each other is an important way to connect with and support your child when you're together. Use these ideas to help your preschooler open up.
Embrace dramatic play
Preschoolers love to play pretend! Instead of waiting for your child to recount the details of her day, initiate a game of "school." Ask your child to be the teacher while you're the student. Observe what your child has you do in the make-believe classroom. This will likely give you a glimpse into your child's school routines. Just remember not to take everything your child does as truth – no matter what situation, preschoolers are prone to be fantastical.
If you have questions about where the line between imaginary and real is, ask your preschooler. These questions can be a great way to help teach your child about fact versus fiction. They can even serve as a conversation starter that actually gets kids talking about their day – on their terms.
Share a "rose" and a "thorn"
Though we may be dying to hear all about what our kids did at school, kids often need some time to process and decompress. Instead of asking questions right after school, wait until dinnertime to prompt your child to share about her day. Teach your child to share a "rose" (something that went well) and a "thorn" (something that was hard). This routine helps kids reflect on specific moments from their time at school, instead of answering the open-ended, "How was your day at school?" As a result, you'll likely to get more than just "fine" as an answer.
Talk about your day
Just as we're curious about our kids' days, our kids are curious about our days too! Model how to give an overview by outlining what you did while your child was at school. No need to share details of boring meetings or endless loads of laundry – just an overview of highlights will do the trick. Making sharing about your days part of your routine can bring you closer to your child while creating a designated time for connecting.
Find out more about how to raise an articulate child and try fun activities to promote listening skills.
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