With a new, but somewhat different, school year upon us, I thought I would share a poem that I found years ago that opens our eyes to the way children communicate.
When children come home at the end of the day,
The question they’re asked as they scurry to play
Is, “Tell me what you did today?”
And the answer they give makes you sigh with dismay.
“Nothing, I did nothing today!”
Perhaps nothing means that I played with blocks,
Or counted to ten or sorted some rocks.
Maybe I painted a picture of red and blue,
Or heard a story of a mouse that flew.
Maybe I watched the gerbils eat today,
Or went outside on the swings to play.
Maybe today was the very first time
That my scissors followed a very straight line.
Maybe I lead a song from beginning to end,
Or played with a special brand-new friend.
When you’re in preschool
And your heart has wings,
“Nothing” can mean so many things!!
While many children may not be in a brick and mortar school this year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they will still be learning and playing, and it is still important to ask about their day—regardless of their age! Even though the above poem is directed at preschoolers, the sentiment still rings true with older children, as well. I asked my children throughout their high school years about their days at school. The important thing to remember is that “nothing” probably means “too much to remember.” To elicit a more meaningful response, you must ask a more direct question. Instead of asking, “What did you do today?” you should ask, “What was the best thing you did today?” or “What story did your teacher read today?” or “What did you learn in Math class today?” You can learn a lot about your children’s interests through meaningful conversation, which can help guide your family activities in the future. Asking specific questions—and waiting for the answers--will also let your child know that you are interested in her life, which will encourage her to share more with you in the future. So, no more accepting “nothing” as an answer on its own 😊. Learning the answers means building stronger connections with your child, which enriches the parent-child relationship!