Tampa Parents: Increasing Communication with Your Child About School

This blog focuses on the start of the school year in Tampa and communicating with your child.  The start of the school year brings along with it many emotions. Some parents are delighted that summer is over while others are nervous about their child first starting or returning to school. At the core, most parents are excited for their child to start the new school year and want to know all about how their child is doing and what happened that day. However, the question “How was your day?” is often greeted with one word responses such as “fine,” “okay,” and “good.” Each of these responses does not exactly speak to the experience your child had that day, which includes what they learned, the friends they met or played with, or what successes or difficulties they had. In order to increase communication with your child (i.e., increase the chances they will respond with more than one word), consider asking these questions after school to learn more about their day:

All ages:

  • What was your favorite activity today?
  • What did you do well today?
  • Which classmates did you speak to?
  • What was your favorite part of the day?
  • What made you smile or laugh today?
  • Name one thing you learned today.
  • Name one thing you struggled with/found difficult today.
  • What are you looking forward to tomorrow?
  • What was the best and worst things that happened at school today?
  • Are you happy with your grades? What can you do to improve them?

With older children, such as teenagers, it is important to consider they may be more reluctant to openly share things that happened that day. Rather than asking a million questions and coming off as intrusive, attempt to connect with your teenager by sharing brief stories of things you experienced while in school. Most teenagers tend to think that adults don’t understand “the way it is” as they don’t consider that adults were once teenagers, too. Open, non-judgmental dialogue is more likely to demonstrate to your teenager that you are aware of and understand their experiences, and to increase their willingness to talk openly with you about their day.

If you are interested in increasing your parenting skills, learning new strategies, or enhancing communication in your family, please contact Dr. Elyssa Barbash of Tampa Therapy to setup an appointment.

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