Forward thinking questions to ask your child

We are often frustrated as parents that we don’t know what our child has done when they spend time away from us in schools or nursery. We try our best to ensure that at the end of the day you have a wee insight into what they have done – what we do know is that they have done a whole lot more that would take us much more time to share with you! As adults we can sometimes focus on the “grumbles” of our child’s day and forget the “wonder” of our child’s day. Our child do pick up on this focus of attention on the “grumbles” rather than the “wonders” and so they learn to sometimes feedback the “grumbles” too!

So how can you glean more insight and feedback from your child about all the “wonders” they have done? How can you ask questions of them that might elicit a response and give you insight into what is going on inside their little growing minds?

I have put together a number of questions that might elicit some response and engage your child in conversation with you about the “wonders” they have done with a little help from the book  by Steven W. Vannoy called “The 10 Greatest Gifts I give my Children” (Parenting from the Heart). Please note that some are better suited to younger/older children as appropriate;

  1. I know you had a great day today with your friends at Mulberry Bush…………….playing outside in the garden…….building something big with the construction bricks………….drawing a wonderful picture in the art area………………..chatting with your friends at the snack table………………….sitting on circle with the teachers……………………………working with the lovely materials on the shelves…………..speaking with the teachers about what you were busy doing………………………………(keep it general)
  2. How did you learn to do that?
  3. Will you teach me how to do that?

These questions will help establish for you and your child, what is acceptable, right and wrong and give them an action plan as to what to do in certain situations when it can be difficult for them to articulate how they feel, or find a place to be angry – being angry is ok, so acknowledge with your child that they can be angry – it’s how to enable your child to do with it that’s important! If they want to throw, find safe things for them to throw;

“Ok Caesar, I can see that you are angry about that and you want to throw. Shall we find safe things to throw, so that you can throw? That’s exactly how to throw safe things when we are angry.”

Or hit……………..or run…………..etc. If your child needs to act out their anger, ensure they can by acknowledging it and directing them safely to do so and then allowing them to undertake the safe action.

  1. What are you feeling right now?
  2. What are you really good at?
  3. What would you like to get better at doing?
  4. What can we do together to help you get better at doing that?
  5. If you do that………………..what will it make you feel like? How do you think it will make me/someone else feel?(confrontation is threatening)
  6. What do you like best about the character in the movie or cartoon? (after watching TV)
  7. If you do that – are you helping anyone else do you think? If so, who?
  8. Are there any other ways that we might solve this do you think?
  9. What do you think will happen if we do it this way do you think?
  10. What would you do if:    The door was locked one day and you couldn’t get in?

Someone offered you a ride home from school that you didn’t know/

I got lost and you couldn’t find me in the shop?

You made a special card for Granny?

You swept up the leaves for our next door neighbor as a surprise?

Your friend tells you a secret that you are not to tell anyone?

Your friend takes one of your books without asking you?

Your friend at school is unkind to you?

Your teacher at school shouts at you or punishes the whole class?

Give your child what you feel is a reasonable answer to each of these so that they know what to do should this instance arise.

  1. How do you think other children feel when something like that happens to them?
  2. Who would you invite to your house if you could invite anyone you want?
  3. And what do you think will happen then? (This can be asked as a follow-up to any string of questions for as far out into time as your child can conceive at their age.

These are simply just a few wee hints and tips that have come to mind.