Many parents are familiar with this scenario – they ask their children how their day was at school, and the only response they get is “good.” While it’s so important for parents to talk to their children about school, many parents struggle to establish positive communication.
As the Family Access and Engagement Coordinator at the Lawrence Full Service Community School in Holyoke, I spend a lot of time working with parents and their children. My goal is to engage all parents in their children’s education, which in turn helps students do better in school.
One of our most successful programs are Parent Cafés. During Parent Cafés, we teach participants how to communicate positively with their young children and share personal experiences about school.
Nelly Luna, a mother who participated in a recent Parent Café meeting, said speaking with her daughter about school has a lot of benefits. “Having daily conversations with my daughter after school helps me to understand what my child is learning at school, daily routines, the relationship with her friends and other students, in what subject she struggles and needs more support, and creates a better child-parent relationship.”
It’s easy for parents to get started at home. Try these open ended questions as a guide. They will help you keep an ongoing and positive conversation about school with your child.
1. Tell me about the best part of your day.
2. What was the hardest thing you had to do today?
3. Did any of your friends do anything funny today?
4. Tell me about what you read in class today.
5. Who did you play with today? What did you play?
6. Who did you sit with at lunch?
7. Can you show me something you learned today or did today?
8. Do you have any homework? What subject is it in?
Another option is to read books about school with your child – it’s a great way to begin conversations about school.
Yamaris Rivera is a 2016 Mass Literacy Champion and the Family Access and Engagement Coordinator at the Lawrence School in Holyoke, Massachusetts.