Thursday, January 20, 2011

thankful thursday ~ the good, the bad and the ugly

I have a routine that I do with the girls every day after they've been in school. It's a simple thing, but has proven to be quite effective.

I don't know about you ~ but my girls don't very often offer up information about their days at school. And even asking them "So, what did you do at school today?" doesn't seem to get a lot of conversation flowing.

So what I have found to be more effective is asking them one simple question: "What was the best ~ and worst ~ part about your day?"

This is often done around the supper table ~ after they have had their chance to unpack their backpacks, clean up their jackets, wash their hands, have their snack and unwinding time. I have learned from personal experience that jumping at them with questions {yes, even just this one question} right after they walk in the door is not going to achieve my goal.

So I wait until suppertime and give them each their turn to answer the question. I enjoy hearing about how excited they were when they were chosen to be the teacher's helper that day, or if they made a new friend. Or when they just tell me a fun thing that they did at recess.

Often there is no "worst part" to report ~ but when there is, it gives me a glimpse into things that they might not have otherwise told me. Whether somebody was picking on them, if they're sad they didn't get invited to something that other kids were invited to, if one of their friends said they no longer wanted to play with them, if they stayed inside for recess because they were temporarily not feeling well...things like that. Thankfully so far there have been no horribly awful negative things to report, but I still like hearing about those little "worst" things.

I don't like to dwell on the negative things though. And if they say there isn't a worst part, I certainly don't push them to try to come up with something that was a negative part of their day. But I do think it's important to talk about those things starting at this young age; at the age where the problems might not be terribly serious yet {at least not to them they likely are}. This way it starts a good habit of being open and honest and getting everything out in the open. That way when they get older and the "worst parts" get more serious ~ like so-and-so pressuring them to smoke, or when their boyfriend wants to get more physical than what they're ready for, or when a friend wants to cheat off of the next day's spelling test ~ the hope is that they will still continue to tell me {us} these things.

So today I am thankful for open lines of communication with my daughters. I am thankful that we put this into practice on a daily basis and that they are, so far, excited about the opportunity to share about their day because they know that I care and that I am listening.


Jenn said...

We do this too - although not every day. You make some very good points and I think we will make this part of our daily supper routine too instead of just sporadically.

TammyIsBlessed said...

Excellent, excellent, excellent! We do this too.

Sometimes, to switch it up a bit, I ask what the funniest thing was too :)