This year my family and I began a new chapter. My oldest daughter started school full time. As a stay at home mom this new journey has been quite scary for me. Hundreds of questions flooded my mind. Will she be safe? Will she feel insecure? Who will be her friends? Will she be an introvert or an extrovert? Is she learning what she is supposed to? Will she be happy? So you get the point.
After a few months I found myself feeling a little left out. I no longer knew all the details of her day and didn’t know everyone she knew. I didn’t know each time she laughed or felt sad or had a bad day. Of course, I knew I couldn’t spend hours questioning her to find out every single detail so I started asking her the same questions at the end of every day.
What started out as my way of peeking into her day became a time of reassurance and release for my daughter. It is a set aside time to share the good and bad of her day. It is her time to feel special and her confirmation that I truly care about her day and what is happening in her life. There have been a few times that I am in a rush and distracted and she will quickly chime in. “Aren’t you going to ask me what you always ask me?”
How was your day?
This is obvious right? Her answer to this question tells me how she feels at the end of the day. This lets me know if the details she tells me later were something that really made an impact or if the feeling had passed by the end of the day.
What happened today that made you laugh?
I love to learn about my kids and what makes their little personalities. Learning about their sense of humor might be my favorite.
What did you not like about school today?
This is an important question. I want her to not only come to me with the highs in life but also the lows and I want to start that early.
Did anyone get in trouble today?
This is her opportunity to not only tell me about her classmates but also to be honest if she got in trouble that day. I can find out from her teacher but I want to know from her and teach her to be honest and own when she makes a mistake. This is also my opportunity to show her that I will be here even in the times she is at fault.
Who did you play with today?
Knowing the names of her friends is not only good information for us but also validates her. I am interested in her friends and making connections with her circle.
What did you play?
This is obviously a follow up to the previous question but it also another way to learn about her and what she enjoys doing.
What is your homework today?
I am going to look in her folder and know exactly what her homework is but now I know how aware she is of her expectations.
What was your favorite part of today?
This tells me what stood out to her today. Was it a personal accomplishment? A new friendship?
Did you do anything new today?
Sharing details about her day makes her feel special and gives me fun insight into her day to day routine.
Tell me something your teacher said to you today.
I love this question. I can get a clearer picture of her relationship with her teacher as the year goes on. Sometimes it makes for a good laugh.
Sometimes this list of questions takes a long time to answer and sometimes it takes 15 minutes. What matters is that I am consistent and show interest each day. It is a great way to be present with our children and to maintain a close relationship with them as they grow and change.
Try this routine out for a week and see what you learn! I’d love to hear about your experiences and insight in the comments below. Also, do you have questions to add or special after school routines you would like to share? I can’t wait to hear from you!!