Oh that age old question we all ask our children when they hop off the bus, get in the car, or sit down to the dinner table. And I am willing to bet that many of you are met with responses like, "I don't know", or "nothing", or maybe even the best one, "I don't remember". I am not a parent yet, but I can assume that this can be frustrating when you don't get much information from your child. So here are a few of a Speech-Language Pathologists tried and true methods to get kids talking before they even know it!
1. Ask open-ended questions- Instead of asking direct questions that will most likely lead to a yes or no response phrase your question differently. For example, "Tell me about P.E. today", or "describe what you did at recess". You can also use who, what, where, when, why, and how questions to elicit responses that are more descriptive.
2. Bridge the home-to-school gap- So many teachers these days have blogs, facebook pages, instagrams, and twitter feeds that keep you in the know about your child's day at school. Checking these sites can help get the conversation started when you have some knowledge about their day or special events that took place. Even better when the teacher posts pictures and you can review them together.
3. Ask about their classroom routine- Classrooms typically run the same routine day-after-day for predictability. Asking your child, "What do you do after math?" might trigger a deeper conversation about what they did in math and before you know it they will be sharing their whole day!
4. Friendships- Kids love to tell me about their friends! If your child has a close friend bringing that child's name up might perk some interest from your little one. "So what did Tommy do today?" "Tell me about Tommy's day".
5. Use humor- When I am faced with a very shy or inattentive kiddo I turn to humor, and the cheesier the better I have found! Recently, I asked a student as we were walking down the hallway back to class, "what did you do at recess?" his response was, "I don't know!". Wanting a more meaningful answer, I turned to humor and responded, "Ohwell did you ride on an elephant?". His eyes looked at me with such surprise, he stopped, and said, "Of course not, I played on the swings!"
So the next time you hear those dreaded words, "nothing" give these strageies a try!