How do I really know what's going on all day with my kids at school and stay connected?
This is a familiar feeling. You ask your child about their day at school and they sum up the 7 hours of school with "fine."
So we talked with Elizabeth James, M.Ed. a School Counselor at Irving Elementary School in Bozeman, Montana to get some ideas. Here are some things we talked about:
1. Get better at asking your child questions about their day. Try some of these questions (and if you can, they go well with an after-school snack)
- What was the highlight of your day?
- What did you play at recess?
- What are you learning about?
- Pretend I'm a student and teach me what you learned in math today.
- What was something that made you laugh today?
- What book are you reading? What happened?
- What was something that was confusing today?
- Tell me five things that happened today and scramble them up in order. I want to see if I can guess what happened first.
- Pretend you took a picture today. What would the picture be of?
2. Get to know your child's friends. Your child spends a lot of time with their classmates. Get to know their names and ask specifically about them (I had to make myself a list to keep the names straight). If you can, invite them over to play.
3. Ask the teacher. Be a squeaky, patient and persistent wheel.
- Ask what the class is studying and a few questions you can ask at home. (PS--this is called Interactive Homework and there's an article coming soon about it).
- If your school does class websites, check it. If they don't, ask the teacher for a quick picture, maybe once a month, that you can discuss with your child at home.
- Ask the teacher what books they are reading aloud and check them out from the library. This will likely jog your child's memory and they may have more to say.
- Ask the teacher if your child can bring home one of their workbooks or text books for you to look at.
- Some schools have the students keep a daily diary. If your school doesn't, talk to the teacher about starting one.
4. If you can, go into school. Most schools welcome parent volunteers. So volunteer to read a story to the classroom, help out with an activity, or do a classroom observation. Or go in and eat lunch with your child a few times. Seeing your child during their day will help you get a better sense of what school is like.