I thought of you when...
Sometimes children are full of stories and tales to share and other times when we ask, “How was your day?” we don’t get much more than a one-word answer. If you want to encourage a little more conversation with your child, how about trying “I thought of you when...”?
This idea is from Kim John Payne, author of Simplicity Parenting. When you have a child-free day, your little one probably crosses your mind more than once. Try to find a point in your day that reminded you of them to share at pick-up. It might be when you saw a beautiful flower on the footpath and it reminded you of a time when you picked dandelions together, or perhaps you had a delicious morning tea and it made you think of the time you baked biscuits together... maybe you can do that again soon.
By talking to your child about remembering them throughout your day, you are letting them know that they are never far from your thoughts, helping them feel connected to you when you are not physically close. Talking to your child about your day in this way might inspire them to tell you something about their day too - it’s a nice way to get a conversation flowing.
Sharing details about your day is not only a lovely way to connect, it also models how to use words to articulate thoughts, feelings and memories. Language is the most complex thing our brain does, so prompting, modelling, and providing time and space for our children to share their stories with us allows them the chance to practise this skill in a safe environment. The more we grasp language, the better equipped we become at emotional regulation and social skills.
Having a conversation with someone aged 5 years or under requires us to draw on our patience at times. To help you stay engaged and follow what your child is communicating to you, try repeating what you have heard and then help them to expand their story by asking an open question or two (who? what? where? why? how? when?).
So next time you have a child-free day, notice something to share with your child at your sweet reunion.
Here are some books to read with your little one to spark conversation about your day away from one another:
- The Invisible String and Other Books by Patrice Karst
- Tell Me About Your Day Today by Mem Fox