My preschooler won't tell me about her day. How do I encourage her to open up?

It isn't uncommon that a child responds with such a question with not much more than, "Fine!" or "Not much!" While it might be tough to get a conversation started, a few simple things might encourage them to tell you more about their day at school. It is important to ask the right question at the right time. At preschool, it is common for parents to inquire the teachers about the day's activities during pick-up. Use that information to ask your child very specific questions about what was learned or fun to do that day. The key is to be as specific as possible, such as "Who did you play with on the playground today?" Try asking about their day during down time or meal times at home when they are not occupied or trying to attend to other activities. And lastly, be a good role model. It should be two-way communication. Offer your own reflection of your day prior to asking them about theirs, in a way you would like them to tell you about their day. For example, tell them what new idea you learned, or what activities you enjoyed doing or otherwise. Remember, children have to learn to tell you about their day.

Jennie Ito, Ph.D.

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