Do you remember coming home from school as a teenager and your parents would ask, ‘what did you learn at school today?’
Usually the answer was ‘nothing’ because you couldn’t be bothered explaining the dramas unfolding with your friends, you hated school or you genuinely felt like it was just another day…right?
If you weren’t one of the ‘nothing’ kids, perhaps you have a child, neice or nephew who replies to your questions with a similar response when you’re keen to find out what they’ve been up to.
If this dead-end conversation-starter sounds familiar, I have learnt one technique that always guarantees a conversation with my four year-old. It’s also worked a treat with his cousins who range from 5 to 15 years.
It is: “What was your favourite part of the day?”
By removing the judgement from the question (i.e “what did you learn“) this more heart-felt question allows the child to focus on what they liked about their day and find a positive among all the big ‘nothings’ in their life.
The responses are often simple, yet goes a long way to shine a light in to the child’s life and gives you a glimpse in to what is important to them.
My son’s response is often the same, “Going to kindy, seeing my friends and having dinner.”
I love this answer because it’s three easy touch-points I can easily pick up and run.
1. ‘Great, what did you do at Kindy?’
2. ‘Who was there?’
3. ‘You’re welcome.’
Essentially, you’re teaching your child to cultivate gratitude, reflect on their day and understand everything is not bad, dull, boring etc…
BTW, I don’t end the conversation there. It’s a rule in our house that everyone gets to share their favourite part of the day.
Think of it as tit-for-tat or showing that you too are grateful for parts of the day.
Cultivating gratitude is such a key component to a healthy, positive mindset, therefore this question is an easy way to acknowledge what we are grateful for without the moment becoming woo-woo or too deep and the whole family benefits from sharing their day.
Give this technique a try next time your kids sit down to eat dinner at the table, or you’re driving home in the car.
Despite the relaxed nature of the question, it can spark some gorgeous heart-felt conversations unbeknownist to the kids (big or small).
I’d love to hear from you, what conversation-starters have you discovered works well within your family? How do you teach kids about gratitude? Leave me a comment below.
If you’d like to learn more about ways to cultivate gratitude and be guided through a month of easy and reflective self-care prompts to relieve stress and anxiety in your life, check out the Rise & Shine 31 day program here.