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How do you get your gkids to tell you about their school day

(28 Posts)
daphne907 Thu 21-Aug-14 09:38:38

Mostly, when asked this, the response is "can't remember", "nothing" "boring" or another comment which gives you nowhere to go with the conversation.
Please offer some suggestions that you have found useful, as I really do want to know how school is going, but "how was school today" just doesn't do it - range of ages from 6 to 10 girls and boys (if that makes any difference).
Looking forward to your help.

vampirequeen Thu 21-Aug-14 09:46:37

I have no ideas but if it's any consolation when I was a primary teacher I would be handing over children at the end of the day only to hear them say they'd done nothing all day. No writing, no sums, no reading....nothing. Oh except at playtime Jimmy had hit them. Btw what's for tea?

I think they compartmentalise life and once out of school it's the last thing they want to talk about.

whenim64 Thu 21-Aug-14 09:48:45

I usually say 'I'm guessing you had salad for lunch, Amber is your best friend, you practised spellings today, you read your story about going to Legoland to your teacher' and so on. Then, when they say 'nooooo, we didn't' I ask them to give me a clue and it trickles out that way.

After years of my four children telling me they had gravy for school dinner every time I asked, I feel your pain! grin

Gagagran Thu 21-Aug-14 09:53:32

DH used to ask ours "What's the most interesting thing you did at school today?" Usual reply was "Didn't do anything interesting"! Seems nothing changes!

suebailey1 Thu 21-Aug-14 10:12:52

I go from the opposite angle with my GS e.g. I don't suppose you did anything today at school and then he will say a few things- he tells me more if I don't ask!

Hunt Thu 21-Aug-14 10:36:40

I used to help out with reading at my daughters school and one day she said to me, ''Mum, why do you keep coming to school? School is mine, home is yours!'' Says it all I think.

durhamjen Thu 21-Aug-14 11:05:07

I'm with suebailey; don't ask and it will trickle out. I teach my grandson at home, and he asks his sister when we pick her up. They'd much rather talk about computer games, though.

Greenfinch Thu 21-Aug-14 11:15:49

I think Hunt says it all. School and home are two different worlds and when they come home they want to leave school behind for the day. Until they are old enough to ask you about your day (40 in the case of my son),I don't think it is worth asking about theirs .You'll soon hear if they need help. My 40 year old always says "not bad" if I ask about his day so I still don't find out anything !

daphne907 Thu 21-Aug-14 13:08:14

Mmm - back off seems to be the name of the game here.
Sad, though, as I really want to find out what turns them on - i.e. what areas they might show interest in that I can equate to and perhaps advise, if required - if they ask or low key brainwashing!
The youngest especially is technology mad - not my specialist subject - and as he is 5, it can be hard work to find something in common.

I have been trying to think of some specific approaches that can't result in the "end of" replies, but may be I should just accept, as greenfinch says, they have left school behind.

Positive is that they all seem to be doing very well, so maybe my interrogation skills would be better employed in another area.

Elegran Thu 21-Aug-14 13:16:15

If you are looking for areas that they are interested in, then what happened at school could well be a non-starter anyway - everyone is usually doing the same thing at the same time time, so special interests don't necessarily appear.

You have noticed the interest in technology. If you keep eyes and ears open you may notice other things that spark his interest. You could try luring him into your own areas of interest. You might have to go back to basics to find the simplest roots of the subject and concoct activities that are within his ability but not "babyish" or - heaven forbid - "boring!" but that could be fun for you too.

Elegran Thu 21-Aug-14 13:16:54

Sorry, I said "him" where I should have said "them".

How old are they?

FlicketyB Thu 21-Aug-14 13:17:20

You can't.

HollyDaze Thu 21-Aug-14 14:22:52

Hello Daphne

I've been lucky it seems that my GDs have always responded when I've asked 'how was school today'. They've always been quite keen to talk about it (unless they're in a grump over something then I just left the subject alone until they'd re-entered the area of being civil again wink ).

With the 5 year old, ask him what he finds interesting about technology and can he tell his gran/nan all about it as you don't know a lot about the subject (he might enjoy knowing something you don't and teaching you what he knows). You may get an inkling which area of technology he is interested in and that could help.

Or just go for a general 'question' such as: what would you choose to spend a whole day doing? Or 'out of all the things you do, what excites you the most'? Or go for the opposite: 'what are the things that really don't like doing'. I found that young children quite liked playing 'what if' games (as long as the game is kept light-hearted).

rosesarered Thu 21-Aug-14 14:23:52

Greenfinch grin
My grandson [9] says 'it's a secret' if I ask anything at all about his school day.His way of not having to think of something to say.
I remember once my Mum falling about laughing [when I was at primary school] and me feeling indignant when asking what I had done at school that day me saying ' we had pink cake and custard, and Kathleen showed us her new knickers.' Mothers eh?Never know what things are important.

Deedaa Thu 21-Aug-14 21:31:06

I find I get the best results by not asking at all! If we walk home with me studiously ignoring all mention of school he can't resist launching into a long story about what he's been doing.

grannyactivist Thu 21-Aug-14 21:42:24

Walking home from school with my children I always asked them to tell me two good things and one not so good thing that had happened at school that day. They always replied and their responses sometimes led into more in-depth discussions. It was a useful way of getting them to talk about difficulties in a non-intrusive way and during dinner we would often re-visit things discussed earlier so that their dad could be party to the conversation and offer his insights.
My grandson needs no urging to share what's happened at school (or anywhere for that matter), but I anticipate that will change as he gets older.

tcherry Thu 21-Aug-14 21:50:13

I always ask my grandson..What was the best part of your day then ask him what was the worse part of your day and he always tells me, well most of the time.

janerowena Fri 22-Aug-14 10:14:53

I've always asked, what was the most exciting thing, followed by, what was the most boring thing. It worked on my children and it works on the GCs.

mary37 Fri 22-Aug-14 17:08:40

Oh dear!! Yesterday I went to see my grandson to hear his exam results and he asked me what I'd been up to lately and I said " Nothing Much" Boot on the other foot !!

Penstemmon Fri 22-Aug-14 17:24:52

My advice to parents who always complained to me (as a teacher) that their kids never told them about school was never to ask! Instead just talk about what you have been doing, what made you laugh, smile, sad , who you talked to, what you did that was interesting etc during your day. Model what you want and you might (if you are lucky) hear what you want to hear!

thatbags Fri 22-Aug-14 18:27:25

I've always assumed they'd tell me anything they felt I needed to know (really needed) or anything they just wanted me to know. It seems to have worked so far.

Today the 'news' was that it has been a very long week. I mentioned that it was the first full week back at school after the summer hols. The reply was along the lines of "Yes, but we've been doing stuff so it should have gone quickly."

Doing stuff is good. Stuff is what DD2 used to do too. Stuff is what schoolkids do. All is well.

Penstemmon Fri 22-Aug-14 18:42:10

thatbagsgrin Stuff is what happens in school!

MiceElf Fri 22-Aug-14 19:20:14

Grandson's first comments are always about Poppy. It seems Poppy kisses him. Grandson is just four and Poppy has a September birthday and is bigger and very assertive. He says he doesn't like being kissed by Poppy and we have all given him strategies to cope. So far he's tried running away, telling her he doesn't like it, telling his teacher, hiding in the outdoor area, all to no avail. His teacher says they get on very well and they've been to each other's parties so we think it's all part of an elaborate game. We never hear about 'work'.

JessM Fri 22-Aug-14 19:23:46

Nice grannyactivist and tcherry - ask good "open" questions and he presto. Other thoughts "what was the silliest thing anyone said today" "who was the worst behaved child in the class" "what was the highlight?" "what was most disappointing?" Get creative. Avoid closed questions that invite short answers e.g. Did you eat all your dinner?
Kids get bored I guess with being asked the same old questions.

thatbags Fri 22-Aug-14 21:38:06

I should jolly well hope you don't hear about a four year old doing 'work', mice! Children learn through play wink, but seriously "Anyone who thinks there's a difference between education and entertainment doesn't know the first thing about either". Sorry, I don't know who said that.