For most children, school has been in session for about two months. When you talk to your grandchildren, one of the first questions you are likely to ask is, “How is school going.” Another would be, “Tell me about your day.” The response you get will likely be, “Fine” or “It was okay.” Not the start to the discussion you were hoping to have, but quite typical.
As this has happened to me with all of the now three grands attending school, I have read with interest articles that broach this subject in hopes of getting insight and information so as to help start a dialogue. My research has provided me with some suggestions I am passing on.
You need to get creative with your questions. Instead of the tired, “How was your day?” which they get ask by everyone, try “What made you smile today?” If that doesn’t work, ask “Tell me something you know today that you didn’t know yesterday.” Other suggestions provided by HerViewFromHome.com include:
- What did you do that was creative?
- Who did you sit with at lunch?
- Was anyone in your class absent today?
- Did you like your lunch?
- What was the hardest rule to follow today?
- If you could change one thing about your day, what would it be?
- What made your teacher smile? What made her frown?
- If you could switch seats with anyone in class, who would it be? Why?
- Can you tell me an example of kindness you saw/showed?
- What kind of person were you today?
My fifth-grade granddaughter, when asked by her mom about other children, mentioned one girl, in particular, saying she was popular. When pressed about what it was that made people want to be her friend, she responded, “She’s nice.” My daughter asked, “But, is she kind?” The question gave her pause and a half-hearted, “I guess” reply. They were then able to get into a discussion of the difference.
With children of all ages using iPads and computers, it doesn’t take long for them to see, read or hear about things on the internet. Even children whose parents are in control of passwords somehow manage to circumvent the blocks. As great as some of the Internet is, it has created a number of issues and concerns – especially for young people. One important discussion to have with your grandchildren is finding out what is concerning them. Are they being bullied? Do they feel left out? Are they lonesome? Are they being pressured by so-called friends to do or try things they know are wrong?
I have read about schools that have a bench on their playground where children who are feeling alone or left out can sit with the knowledge that other children will come and either sit with them or include them in their play. Teachers make it a point of teaching children to be kind to one another – something that should be emphasized at home. A piece from @mommywinetime goes, “Let your child be the weird kid. Let them be the funny kid, the quiet kid, the smart kid, the athletic kid, the theater kid, the numbers kid, the teacher’s pet, the chatterbox, the valedictorian, the middle of the pack kid, the ‘barely made it’ kid. Just don’t let them be the mean kid.”
A sign painted on the wall of a school imparts these words that the kids pass by every day. It states: “Some kids are SMARTER than you. Some kids have cooler clothes than you. Some kids are better at sports than you. IT DOESN’T MATTER. You have your thing, too. Be the kid who can GET ALONG. Be the kid who is generous. Be the kid who is happy for others. Be the kid who does the right thing. BE THE NICE KID.”
And the kind one!