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Unlocking the Secrets of Successful After-School Conversations

It’s an all-too-familiar scene for parents – the moment you pick your child up from school, you’re filled with curiosity and eagerness to know everything about their day. They’ve been away for hours, and you can’t wait to reconnect with them.

Picture this: your kids have been on a non-stop rollercoaster called “School Day,” tackling lessons, navigating the social scene and dodging teacher glares. It’s like a mini-marathon, and they’re feeling like they just crossed the finish line. What they need now is not a Q&A session; it’s a chance to finally unwind. School is a full-blown adventure, and they’ve earned their “hangry and worn-out” badges. Your child is probably running empty both with energy and food. They need time to refuel and recharge, both physically and mentally. Plus, your kiddo probably hasn’t had a chance to process everything that happened during their school day. They need a moment to let it all sink in, think about the cool stuff they learned, and reflect on any hiccups they faced. Bombarding them with questions won’t speed up that process.

So, here’s the game plan: when you scoop up your child from school, create a chill, relaxed atmosphere. Say hello and let them know how much you were looking forward to seeing them….then, ZIP it. Let them have their space and time to unwind..whether they want to jam to music, scroll on their devices, or simply relax in silence.  

The magic here is in respecting their need for space without getting all judge-y or frustrated. When you do that, you’re setting the stage for awesome communication later. They’ll feel way more like sharing their thoughts and stories with you. It’s all about picking the right time!

Once you’re back home and your child has had a snack and some downtime, that’s when the magic happens. Show them some love – hold hands, give hugs, or play with their hair. Now’s the time to chat. Instead of hitting them with cliché questions like “How was your day?” or “What happened at school?”, ask open ended questions like “any cool things that happened in your day”, “I would love to hear anything that you would like to share about your day at school”…just let them know you’re there, eager to hear their stories.. allowing them the freedom to share as they please..

Some families even make it a routine, like talking during dinner or bedtime. The key is to keep it natural and relaxed – no pressure, no interviews, just good ol’ bonding time. This is a two-way street. You can also share about your day to take pressure off of your child. This is your time to connect. Create a vibe where your child feels heard, valued, and stoked to spill the beans about their day.

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