Monday, 22 February 2016

Something from my daughter, please read and let her know what you think.

Today's post is written by my eldest daughter, I am sharing it here so she can get feedback from people other then family. 

How I learnt to communicate about my child’s day at school

Last year my eldest daughter started school at the tender at of 5. I knew she was ready to go, the boredom she experienced everyday was admittedly getting on my last nerve and I could no longer afford to send her to daycare 3 days a week, along with her little sister twice a week.

When your child is in a loving and caring daycare such as the one my children attend, you are able to take time to talk to their educators and discover what your child did for the day. The child to educator ratio is much lower than that of a primary school and therefore your child is constantly being observed. Especially when your child attends at 72 place centre and there is well over 20 educators coming and going during the day.

The educator assigned to be the primary carer for your child while you are away tends to be the one who observes them while they play. They take note on what your child did and give you their professional opinion on how your child is developing.

But what happens when your child starts school? How do you as a first time school parent communicate with your child about what happened during their day? It took me a while to figure it out, and annoyingly it the answer was right under my nose.

Every child is born to be curious. When you sit them in front of a box, the child will undoubtedly look inside the box to see what they can discover. If they find blocks they will build, while pencils and paper will allow them to draw, and dolls allow role playing. When children watch a television show or read a book this will lead to questions.

When my daughter came home from school each day she would always want to role play. And it was always mums and dads. But after a while it turned to teachers and students. My school age daughter would pretend she was the teacher and have her little sister play the roles of all the students in the classroom. Looking back at it now, this was how my child was informing me of how her day went at school. She would have her little sister try and count to 10 or say the alphabet. When it came to sport there was a lot of running and kicking of a ball.

I was never sure on what my child’s favourite thing to do in class was, but once again it was right under my nose. After a few weeks I realized the two things she like to do while she was pretending she was in class; It was standing in front of her peers and telling them about her weekly news while the other was sitting in class waiting for the teacher to say her name so she could answer a question. There were many times when I found myself pretending to be the teacher and asking spelling or math questions.

I know it can be boring and tedious sometimes to play the same games with your children each day, but have you ever asked yourself maybe this is how your child is trying to tell you what they did during the day or how they are feeling?

Recently I have found myself playing with Lego blocks with my youngest daughter. She likes to pretend they are people, in most cases these people are mums, dads, sisters, brothers, cousins and her darlings. While we were playing with the blocks she would place a small block on the bottom of a bigger block and pretend there was a baby in the tummy. I had no idea where she got this idea from. She’s the youngest and to the best of my knowledge has never understood that babies come from a mummy’s tummy. After reading one of the weekly summaries sent home from her daycare I noticed that one of the educators in her room is pregnant.

For a long time I dreaded playing these role playing games with my girls. It was always the same thing every single day and after a while I wanted to be more physically active instead of sitting in the one spot saying the same words over and over again. I will even admit there were times when I tried so hard to change their state of mind so they would want to play something else. I now understand that this is how children try to grasp what is happening in their life and how try to figure out what questions they should be asking.

Today, twelve months on, and I have discovered the best way to find out what happens in my child’s day to day life at school is to ask her what kind of questions the teacher asks and which friends she played with that day. I get a much better response from her and now have a better understanding on how to talk to my children about their day. It’s amazing how much a simple role playing game can tell you about what is going on in your child’s growing mind.



Huggybear said...

I would have assumed that parents would normally
ask their child these questions after the child's day at school.
Not only questions by the mother, the father also.
By asking young children these questions, the child will realise that school is an important time in their growing up life-cycle.
By not asking the child MAY come to the wrong conclusion that school is just a place for being dumped for a couple of hours - 5 days a week and that is not in the best interest in the educational process for the child.
Colin ( 6 years a teacher and believe you me, it doesn't take a good teacher long to know that the parents are taking no interest!)

Cheryl said...

Very interesting and well written perspective, Kathy. I totally agree that it takes a unique approach to elicit conversation with young children. I used to be the manager of a preschool when my own children were small and had to opportunity to see all the different personalities that children can have. Now that I am older, I see in my grandchildren the differences in how they communicate. One is very verbal but another one you have to get creative to get information from. Role playing can be very helpful.

I do agree with Huggy Bear that it is very positive that you are asking your children about their day. No matter your approach, they will look back and realize their mommy cared enough to ask.

Lisa said...

You explained almost exactly what I experienced when my daughter was in small school. I would get on her nerves asking what she did at school that day. I always would ask her what she had for lunch as well. I finally got more answers by just listening and observing her behavior when she came home that day.
Mine always wanted to roll play a teacher and I was pleased at what she (and I) learned. she always loved school. She is now a college graduate.

CWMartin said...

Very wise and quite well-written. Congrats to Kathy for learning a lesson a lot of parents miss.

CWMartin said...

PS added it on my Facebook. I think this is very important.

Margaret-whiteangel said...

Interesting how Kathy has done that.
Every parent would find out how their child/ern are learning a different way - some children talk and others act out.

Jo-Anne's Ramblings said...

Hell yes I am sure teachers can tell which parents are taking an interest and which are not, there are some parents who don't bother attending school functions even if the have the time, it is understandable if the parent is working and can't get time off but some just are not interested.

Jo-Anne's Ramblings said...

The first thing Natasha asks Blain of an afternoon is how was his day, Jessica is the same with Leo but I don't think either of them try to get out of the child anything more the "ok" and many young ones will not say more unless you guide them.

Jo-Anne's Ramblings said...

Hell yes sometimes we need to learn to sit back and listen and learn to ask the right questions not just how was your day, many children only respond with ok when asked that question. I am so proud of the type of mother Kathy-Lee is

Jo-Anne's Ramblings said...

I am very proud of Kathy-Lee she is an amazing mother, not sure where she gets it from, properly not me..........

Jo-Anne's Ramblings said...

So true Kathy-Lee is amazing she is really a hands on, connected mother, unlike some mothers I know

Tamara Gerber said...

I say be grateful for having daughters who tell you what's going on through role-playing!
All I'll ever get out of my boy is "it was fine", "we played", "we had class" if not "duh, quit asking stupid questions!"

Rick Watson said...

She did a great job. Well done!

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