Get Your Toddler Talking About Their Day

by Sesame Lane Admin on 28/11/2016 2:09:05 AM

They never stop asking you questions. Why this, why that, what’s this, where are we going, are we there yet, what are you doing...it goes on. They’re so happy to ask us questions and demand an answer.

But how do you make it work the other way round? How do you get your toddler to open up about their day?

 

So your little one has spent their day at Kindy and by the time you pick them up you want to know all about it.
 
·      How do you ask the right questions?
·      How do you make ‘talking’ a healthy habit?
·      What are the warning signs to look out for?


Ask All the Right Questions

You wouldn’t think it would be this complicated, but the questions you ask your little ones will make a huge difference to the response you get.
 
Think about it this way. You’ve had a really long day at work. Jane from accounts has been particularly irritating and by the time you get home all you want is a glass of grown-up juice and some silence.
 
Your toddler may feel the same way. Except it was James who wouldn’t share his dinosaurs and they had a few more toilet accidents today than normal. They’re shattered and it’s been an emotional rollercoaster.
 
These things are a lot for your child to deal with, so asking the right questions will help them process their day, rather than stressing them out.

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#1 Avoid ‘Vague’ Questions

 This may be your go-to, but try to avoid asking something as vague as “how was your day”?
 
It’s too much for your little one to compute. They need more specific guidance to help process their day.
 
Some top questions to try?
 
  • Did you play with [insert name] today?
  • What toys did you play with?
  • Did you do any drawing today?
  • What was your favourite part of today?
  • Did you eat all your lunch, how was it, did you like it?
  • When were you happiest today?
 
You get the point. Specific questions are much easier for your child to deal with. It gives them a part of their day to focus on, deal with and then answer.
 
Notice, all of these questions are positive. It’s better to start from a place of positivity and deal with anything that comes along than start from a place of negativity and get stuck there. It’s a great habit to get into.
 

#2 Use Artwork/Projects to Start Conversations

 
Not only is this a great way to have a chat about their day, how they found creating their work, what trials they faced and how they overcame them (a lot can come from one piece of work), but it also helps their self-esteem.
 
Having your full attention and focus on something they’ve created is a great confidence booster.
 
It may just be a bunch of scribbles to you right now, but to them it means something. They created it with a purpose in mind and going through this process with them tells them you understand them, and you care about what’s going on in their head.
 
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#3 Know What’s Going On

 
Knowing what the themes are in their class at day care this week, or what their schedule is can be a great help as it gives you a focus for asking specific questions.
 
They will love sharing the new things they’ve learnt and it gives you the opportunity to explore topics in more detail at home, if they have more questions.
 
What books have they been reading? What games have they been playing? What have they been making?
 
You can read the same books, play the same games, and make the same things at home. Get them to show you what they’ve learnt. They will love taking the lead and seeing the pride on your face.
 

#4 Embrace the Bedtime Stall

 
Your kids are so smart, sometimes a little too smart. They know when it’s bedtime, and they know how to drag it out as long as possible.
 
Is your little one finding as many ways as possible to push their bedtime? Take this as an opportunity to talk about their day. They’re relaxed and they’ve got your attention. It’s the perfect time to spend 10 minutes talking about their day, and talking about what tomorrow has in store.
 
They feel like they’ve tricked you into letting them stay up later, you’ve tricked them into opening up about their day. It’s a win-win.
 
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#5 Listen, Listen Again and Listen Some More

 
Kids know when you’re not paying attention. Ever taken a second to notice the environment when your toddler is acting up? Is everyone glued to the TV, their tablet, or their phone? Are you busy doing something else?
 
They have a radar for knowing when they don’t have your full attention. How do you change it?
 
Give them your full attention. Listen, look at them, sit together in a quiet place and put all distractions aside.
 
Having your little one feel like their feelings, thoughts and emotions are worth listening to is huge. If they don’t feel like there’s any point opening up, they won’t. And it’s a habit they soon learn one way or the other.
 
You’ll see that they don’t even need that much time. 5-10 minutes of talking will be enough and then they’ll run off and play with their toys, or some other important task.
They don’t have a huge attention span, but the undivided attention they get from you is incredibly important.
 

Warning Signs to Look Out For

Is your toddler a talkative Terry, or a shy Sharon? You know them best, but it can be a little worrying if your little one starts acting differently.
 
How do you know whether they’re just having a difficult day, or there’s something more serious going on?
 
Your little one having a quiet day, being a bit more irritable or tired than normal is nothing to worry about. They may have just had a new social situation to deal with, or they’re going through a developmental phase.
 
But, if their behaviour changes suddenly and it stays that way for a few days, or seems to only be when they’ve been at day care, you need to take a look into it further. Increased irritability, changes in sleeping/eating habits, become increasingly clingy, or wanting more time alone may indicate something else such as stress or anxiety.
 
First step? Try all of the above. See if you can gently coax it out of them, talk to them in a relaxed way and just let them know you’re there. It may come out and it may be something as simple as a fallout with a friend.
 
If this doesn’t work, you need to speak to your child care Educators to see what’s going on and work something out together. If you’ve noticed, they will have noticed too and they may be able to help.
 
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Sharing’s Caring

Toddler’s love talking to you. They love having your undivided attention and no matter what their natural personality they want to impress you and make you proud every day.
 
Making a habit out of talking through their day is so small, but so significant. Talkative children make talkative adults and having them feel comfortable in talking to someone whether they’ve had a good or bad day means they will always feel this way.
 
Asking more specific questions, knowing what’s going on and giving them bursts of undivided attention are sure fire ways to get your toddler talking your ear off.