We pick up our kids from school or they get off the bus and we ask them this question: “How as your day?”
And we get our answer: “Good”
Then we ask the follow up question: “What’d you do today?”
These are bad questions. Imagine your day at work (or your partner’s). You’ve been gone for something like 8-10 hours and literally dozens of things have happened. You’ve had meetings, emails, conversations. Someone was hired, someone was fired, so-and-so is having a baby or back from a vacation. There’s a conference coming up you have to plan the travel for and a dinner that you need to attend. Tons of information – too much to actually share. And where do you begin?
The same is true for our kids. They had multiple subjects, recess, lunch, waiting in line for art class, going to the library, fire drill, locker getting stuck, lost their coat, birthday cupcakes, etc. And that’s just at school. What about going to camp for a week!
I understood that I could not possibly know all the details of their day, but I still wanted to be able to share in their experience. I also wanted to make sure they had a place to process what had occurred that day, both good and bad.
So I started to break it down.
- Tell me about math class.
- What did they have a lunch today?
- What game did you play in gym?
- Did you use your new crayons?
These types of questions turned out to be spark plugs.
It got them to think about the details of their day. They would answer the question and quickly jump to, “Do you know what else … ?” Before I knew it they were sharing tons of information. We were talking about specifics and the feelings they had. I often didn’t have to say much else and after a half hour or so, we felt connected again.