I don’t know about you, but this is usually how many conversations go with my kids after school.
Let me set the scene, I usually come in hot, screeching tires into the parking lot, so proud of myself for being on timeish for pick up. The kids walk from their school to me and I notice everyone is smiling and actually remembered their coats and lunchboxes. (Yay! I don’t have to get another teacher’s email, about the neverending pile of lost and found items. Ain’t no way I am digging through that germ infested box of all the lost things.)
No one is crying, and everyone has a smile on their face. My car is littered with snack packages and dried bananas from the afternoon snack and we are ready for the cross town drive to all the sports, and mom is ready for some intentional conversation.
But instead of the hours of pouring out their little childhood dramas at school, this is what I usually get:
Me: How was your day?
Me: Did you have have a good day at school?
Me: What made it good?
I feel like I am a cool mom, it’s not like they are doing anything at school I shouldn’t know about, ok, mostly. The other day my kid did get sent to the Principal's office for throwing a carrot in the lunchroom He definitely failed to tell me that he had a really fun lunch sitting in the office when he got in the car after school that day. But Mama has lots of eyes in the school, so she found out. Don’t they know we will ALWAYS find out!
But more often than not, they just don’t really open up to me about the day. I am not sure if they forget, or if my son’s words are all taken up, (he’s an introvert), but literally, a unicorn could pop down from heaven in the middle of their classroom and he would probably forget to tell me about it.
So I started doing something simple each day, that has opened up some discussion. I ask my kids on a scale of 1-10 what number was your day. If they say 9, I ask what made it such a great day.
If they say 3, I know something happened. After almost 3 months of the above lame conversation, I finally started asking Holden the numbers. And when he said 2 or 3, and I asked why? He finally said because a kid was bullying him at school.
He started to actually tell me why his number was so low or so high. This gave me all the information I needed to really know what was going on in his heart and mind. It was just a little tool that helped me glean some information from my introverted boy, who doesn’t like to share all the things. This has opened up the floodgates in our car. It might be a 10-minute conversation, but it could also be a conversation about a situation that he needs some help with.
It’s a tiny little question and easy as 1-10, but it has been a game changer in figuring out what the heck they are going through at school when I don’t see them. The beautiful thing about moms is we can get that information through backdoor channels, we are basically like the CIA. Ain't nobody getting much past us. But sometimes I just need my kid to tell me, and this little exercise has done that for us, it also helps him process his feelings, which is a hard thing to do as a 10-year-old boy. Hope it helps your family too.