Hi there! I have a preschool boy who is in school all day long, all week. When I pick him up I always ask him what he did that day. His response is either, “I don’t know” or “Nothing”. Is he really not doing anything all day at school? What is happening?!
Rest assured that your child is doing SOMETHING at school! It is very typical for children to respond that they haven’t done anything when asked the general question “What did you do today?” Or “How was your day?” This can be very frustrating for the adults who care about them! I’m sure you’ve missed your child all day and are looking for the opportunity to connect with him when you pick him up. It is likely that your child has done so much during the day that he can’t sift through all of the information to recall specific activities.
Don’t worry! You are not doomed to a life of just hearing “I don’t know” or “Nothing” (at least not until he is a teenager!). There are several steps you can take to help your little one recall some events to chat with you about. One technique would be to talk with your child’s teacher at pick up about some things that she might have seen him interested in that day. It is a good jumping off point for conversations if you know the activities that are your child was involved in that day. The activities that were offered at school might also be posted somewhere in the classroom or even in an entrance way for parents to see! If this isn’t a practice at your child’s school, it might be one that you can suggest to a teacher. Remember your child’s educator is there to help both of you!
Another practice that some have found helpful is starting a nightly routine called, “Up, Down, Excited”. During this activity, everyone in the family would share three events and feelings from their day. The “up” would be the highest or happiest part of the day. This can be a fun game someone played, a good piece of news received or just a good feeling! The “down” is the unhappiest part of the day. This can be something as simple as having to wait for a turn with a toy, to something like having a really sad moment. The “excited” is what each family member is looking forward to the next day or in the near future. This activity not only provides everyone with some insight about the day of each family member, but also gets a conversation started about emotions. It is important to allow sharing without judgement. Follow up questions and conversations are welcome!
Hang in there and keep trying to talk to your child! Even if it stays frustrating for a bit, your child will eventually come to understand that you are asking questions because you love him and you are interested to know all you can!