After school questions to ask your preschooler every day.
Preschool is such a fun time for kids! So many new friends, games, and learning opportunities. It can be bittersweet for moms. I know when Ben started I was so happy and excited for him, I knew he was going to love it. But I was also sad because there were whole chunks of his day I was no longer a part of! The first few days of preschool I asked Ben a million questions on the drive home, but he was not exactly forthcoming with information. In fact, he usually gave me nothing. So I knew I had to get creative.
This post originally appeared on Team-Cartwright.com.
Fortunately for me, Ben's preschool teachers would post an outline of their day outside the classroom every morning. They also set up a Facebook group and posted pictures. So I had a pretty good idea of what he did all day. That doesn't mean I didn't want to hear what he thought about it all though. I found pretty quickly that the more questions I asked, the less information I got. (Anyone else have that problem?) So I boiled it down to three big questions. These three questions helped me gauge how Ben was doing at school, and it helped me emphasize some of our values.
3 After School Questions to Ask Your Preschooler Every Day
1. What was your favorite part of today?
I always ask what Ben's favorite part of the day was first. This is a fun question, and it is pretty telling about the day. If something really made an impact, I heard about it right away. I love hearing him get excited about what they are working on in school. It is also a telling question if he isn't super talkative. Sometimes his favorite part of the day is just playing. Yes, this is a short answer that doesn't really give a ton away. I usually ask some follow-up questions to this one. But the answer of playing is a good one too. At this stage, play is the most important thing. Kids learn so much from just getting to be kids, so I like hearing that he had fun playing.
I like to use this question as a chance to remind us to look at the bright side of life. Every day there is something good that happens. I don't want to set up unrealistic expectations for life, but I do want to teach my kids to look for the silver lining. Being able to recognize the good helps build a happy heart and an attitude of gratitude, which are essential to just generally not being a spoiled brat.
2. What was your least favorite part of today?
Yes, I want to know the downsides of the day too. I don't mean for this question to focus on the negative too much, but it is another good gauge of how the day went. Ben is really good about admitting when he gets a timeout, so I usually already know about that. But this question is another opportunity for Ben to be honest with me about how his day went. (He's a good kid, but he is a preschooler. Timeouts happen.) Hearing what didn't work during Ben's day gives me a chance to work on any issues he is having. We can discuss positive ways to resolve differences with friends, remember why we need to share, or just practice thinking about how other people feel.
Thinking of what we didn't like as much is brings an important balance. While theoretically, I want my children to be happy and have fun all the time, that just isn't feasible in life. We all have to do things we don't like sometimes, and we all have to deal with things that just aren't fun. Remembering that we didn't like something but made it through helps build emotional durability.
3. What did you do that was kind today?
Kindness is something we value highly, and I strongly feel the earlier we start teaching it the better. Little ones can be so naturally kind, making it easy to encourage them to make good choices. So every day I ask Ben how he was kind that day. Sometimes he needs some help with this one, but I know there was always something. We talk about how we can help friends or help clean up. Sharing is kind, so is taking turns. Usually, when we talk I find many ways he was kind, and it gives me some extra insight into his days.
Kindness is a core value, and one I think needs to be talked about every day. Whatever happens, if we have a good day or bad, we can find moments of kindness. Even on days when we make bad choices, we can still make good ones too. Nothing is a total loss and there is never a bad time to do something kind.
Open Up Conversation
The goal of these 3 questions is in part information gathering. I want to know what is going on in my child's life! These help me get my son talking about what he actually did at school. (As opposed to getting distracted with all the other important things on his mind.) I learn what he liked and what he didn't like. I also get a good feel for how he is doing in general.
More than just getting information, these 3 questions help me reinforce important values and ideas. One is that everything we do in life isn't always going to be fun. We don't have to like every moment of our day, but we still have to handle it. That being said, the second value is that regardless of what is going on, we can find something to be grateful for. Maybe it is just a tiny sliver of positivity, but finding hope and looking for the good is important. These two ideas help build emotional resiliency. And finally three, kindness counts. It's so simple, but it is important to talk about it often. You rarely go wrong when you are kind. 3 little questions, 3 big lessons.
Kim is the mother of three- a 4-year-old son and two-year-old twin daughters. She blogs at Team-Cartwright.com about simple STEM activities for kids, life with twins plus one, and practical parenting. You can follow her on Instagram and Facebook. Her motto is you don't need to know all the answers, you just need to be willing to wonder.
Here are some additional back to school posts from the ladies of the BFBN!
Chronicles of a Babywise Mom: How To Maintain a Sleep Schedule Amid School Disruptions
Christine Keys: 5 Thought Provoking Reasons to Boycott Preschool
Mama's Organized Chaos: 7 Practical Benefits of Preschool for the Stay at Home Mom
The Journey of Parenthood: Reasons Why It Benefits Your Child To Ride the School Bus
Twin Mom and More: 5 Reasons to Choose a Play-Based Preschool