Making the most of after-school conversation

Girl looking at cameraWhen children are outside their parents’ supervision while in child care, preschool or kindergarten, it can be difficult to know how they’re doing. Even with recent increases in communication between parents and their children’s daytime caregivers, such as text messages, email and other message boards, parents can learn more about their children’s daily activities, behaviors and goals through the power of discussion with them.

By asking young children questions, and actively listening to their answers, parents can gain an exclusive insight look at what’s happening outside the home. There are many after-school questions that parents can ask children to spark meaningful, relationship-building conversation.

What was your favorite thing you learned today?

Show interest in what invokes your child’s curiosity. When parents learn about their child’s favorite activities in school, they can be more helpful when assisting children in choosing educational activities for playtime. If your child responds that they enjoyed reading the most, find out what their favorite book is and consider purchasing a copy for home. Those who enjoy math may enjoy playing number games outside of school. Engaging in conversation about new and interesting things learned will help set the foundation for a “learning is fun” mentality.

How have you showed others kindness today?

Asking children to recall an act of kindness can help initiate a positive mindset and encourage them to help others. Give your child simple examples of kind gestures they can do to show kindness and compassion for others. Explain simple actions like holding the door open for someone, sharing with others, giving a compliment and more. To inspire optimism and good behavior, challenge your child to try to do at least one nice thing a day. Not only does building a habit of kind behavior improve other’s lives, but it also sets the framework for overall good behavior throughout the school day.

Who did you sit with at lunch or snack time?

Asking who your child sat with at lunch or snack time can open an window of conversation for parents to better understand their children’s development of social skills at school. Talk with your child and ask if they know the names of the children sitting by them. Discovering how your child interacts with others during mealtime can be insightful in learning if your child is introverted or extroverted in a school setting. Many children are especially shy during their first few weeks at school. Encourage your child to be social with others and make school friends.

What are you most looking forward to tomorrow?

Engaging in conversation about what your child is looking forward to the following day plant’s the seed for goal setting and planning for future. Your child may be most looking forward to interacting their teacher, reading, socializing and more. Whatever the case, you’ll learn more about what excites your child. Knowing what your child is looking forward to can help you encourage and motivate them to get ready for school the next morning, and send them off for the day with their best foot forward.

For more tips and free child development support, call the Birth to Five Helpline at 877-705-KIDS (5437)
or download the Birth to Five Helpline app!


All content in this article, including any advice or commentary from Southwest Human Development staff and/or others, should be considered an opinion and is provided for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for medical or other professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the direct advice of your own trusted professional with any questions or concerns you may have regarding the child/ren in your care. Southwest Human Development does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, products, procedures or other information that may be mentioned in this article. You may contact Southwest Human Development’s Birth to Five Helpline at 1-877-705-KIDS (5437) to speak with one of our early childhood professionals for personalized assistance. Birth to Five Helpline specialists are available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.