Ever try to talk to a 5 year old about how his day was?
The typical exchange goes something like this:
“How was your day?”
“What happened at school today?”
“Ummmmmmmm……I don’t remember.”
I thought I had at LEAST another 7 years before I got that response, which is essentially a more polite version of “nothing.”
So I’ve been trying something different lately, which has worked well. Try it yourself and see how it works. Instead of asking how his day was, I say, “Tell me something happy that happened today.” Then I go on to ask about something sad, surprising, funny, and something that made him mad. I usually get an actual story from his day with these questions.
Happy: Playing with my friend N.
Sad: When my sister was mean to me.
Surprising: Nothing today.
Mad: When C was mean to me at school.
That led to the follow up question of what exactly it is that C does, which seems to be looking at the boy’s private stuff in his cubby, which he only allows other kindergartners to do. Eyeroll.
Then I ask, “Is there anyone else at school who is mean to you?”
“Well, H and E are sometimes.”
“What do they do?”
“They make fun of my name.”
Now this I was NOT expecting.
“What did they say?”
“They keep making fun of my name ’cause it has the word ‘kiss’ in it and they keep saying it over and over again. And I don’t like that and it makes me sad.”
“So what do you do?”
“Well, I use my words and I tell them to stop and if that doesn’t work I tell the teacher.”
He looked so sad talking about this. I gathered him in my arms for a hug.
“You know, ” I whispered in his ear, “I think you have the best name in the world. I love your name.”
“Yeah,” he said, smiling, “me too.”
“Don’t you ever let anyone make you feel bad about your name, okay kiddo?”
“Okay.” I guess the talk was over then, because he moved onto “can you help me build this Star Wars rocket?”
I wonder what tomorrow’s conversations will bring.
(If any of you try this, I’m curious to see if you have any interesting chats from it–let me know!)