Thursday, August 23, 2012

20 Ways to Engage Your Child About Their Day

Perfect for toddlers, children, tweens, teens, and families of all

As a parent or guardian, you know that it is vital to stay in the loop about your child or teen's day.  However, we often get the "I don't know" or "it was fine" response when we ask then how their day was...or at least I do :)

Here are some things that I have found are helpful and usually get me a better response.  Most of the time these lead to conversations about their day and help us as a family to stay actively involved in each other's days.

  1. Ask them to give a high and low point from their day.  You could even add a high five when they say their high and a low five when they say their low.  That would be fun for active kiddos.
  2. Use chalkboard place mats (you could DIY) at dinner time to draw a picture of their day and then parents have to guess what the event is.  A link for how to make one
  3. Place a feeling magnet board on fridge or in car for them to pick a feeling from their day and share about it. Here is a link to buy a mood magnet or you could make your own.
  4. Create a feeling face poster and put it somewhere in the house.  Each child has a certain color post-it note and can put post-its on their feelings from that day.
  5. Have your child that has a cell phone take a picture of something from their day and you do the same, then at the end of the day you can swap pictures.
  6. Use a decorative "talking stick" (I like to use a glitter baton) in the car and pass it around to share stories from their day.
  7. Each child gets an Oreo cookie, and as you are eating it you have to share a positive (top layer), a negative (middle layer), and another positive (bottom layer) from their day.
  8. During bedtime tuck in ask them something they are thankful for from that day and something they wish for tomorrow.
  9. Ask for the first thing that pops into their mind about their day when you say a key word (i.e. recess, lunch, teacher, friend, classroom, etc.).
  10. Play two truths and a lie from their day and you have to guess which is the lie.
  11. Use play dough to make a picture or symbol from their day.
  12. Trace their hand and fill in five fingers with five events from the day.
  13. Have the child make a sound and you have to guess what part of the day it is from.
  14. Have the child make a face and you have to guess what caused that face during the day.
  15. Play balloon pass, whoever lets it touch the ground has to share a story from their day.
  16. At bedtime, or even right when they get home, use "magic lotion" (just special lotion that is only used for this.  mine has sparkles) and ask if they have any hurts, inside or outside, that need to be taken care of.
  17. Draw a picture on each others backs of a feeling face from some time during they day and share what caused that face.
  18. Share a gold fish snack using the colored gold fish.  Label the colors with things from the day (red = recess, purple = peers, green = good things, yellow = yucky/bad things, orange = okay things)...could use small skittle or m&m packs if you want.
  19. Cut up strips of different types and colors of scrap book paper.  Have child pick a few out that represent different things from their day.  For example, black paper might be something bad that happened, while sparkly pink paper is a memory of something good.
  20. Play charades and take turns acting out things that happened during the day.

I always think it works better if the parent plays the game too.  This models for the child or teen how to share and that it is fun in the family to swap stories.  It also gives them insight into your day and what you do while they are not with you.

What are some other things you like to do to engage your child?

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About Me

Licensed Associate Counselor, Licensed Assoicate Marriage and Family Therapist, Registered Play Therapist