Your child has begun school!
This first big step is perhaps the most significant moment in the life of a two year old and the second most significant moment in your life as a parent, the first being the moment of her birth itself.
Separation anxiety is a natural phenomenon that every pre-schooler and every parent goes through.
As it is the first time that the child spends time away from you, it is also the first time that you spent your first hours away from the apple of your eye. As much as the child feels in awe of his/her new surroundings, so will the parents feel the vacuum of those few hours hanging heavy on them.
So invariably the moment the child steps out of the vicinity of the playschool and into your waiting arms, your first question fired at her is: ‘How was school?’.
1. To assuage the feeling of guilt arising within you because you packed off your two year old to a new place, away from you. It is almost as if you were a surgeon cutting the umbilical cord all over again!
2. To re assure yourself that you made the right choice by sending your child to a particular preschool.
3. To be a part of her whole new world that has suddenly sprouted up! In other words, the parent is wanting a legitimate entry into the child’s ‘home away from home ‘
4. To soothe your parental nerves with regards to safety and security of your child.
Whatever be the case, it is but natural for a parent to want to know each and every detail of the moments the child spent away from their watchful eyes.
Fair enough. If that is the aim, the urge to ask such a question is a natural offshoot of parental mindset. But to elicit apt feedback from the child, it is desirable that the parent be equipped with suitable questions which are open ended and do not draw a monosyllabic response from a child (a monosyllabic response in this case would be the words yes’ or ‘no’, ‘good’ or ‘bad’).
Open ended questions encourage the child to think and respond, to respond and not react and to go beyond the monosyllables and answer in context using sentences.
So dear parents instead of asking, ‘How was school’, try asking:
1. What was the best thing that happened at school today?
2. Whom did you play with during playtime or recess? What did you play?
3. Who is the funniest person in the class? Why is she/he so funny?
4. If you could change seats with anyone in the class, who would you trade with? Why?
5. Is there anyone in your class who needs a time- out? Why do you say so?
6. Tell me 5 new words that you learnt at school today.
7. If you became the teacher of your class tomorrow, what would you do?
8. Who would you not want to sit with in class? Why?
9. How did you help someone in class today?
10. When did you get bored in school today?
11. Tell me three times when you used a pencil in school today?
12. How did you help someone in class today?
13. Did you make any new friends in school today? Tell me their names please.
14. Where do you play the most during playtime /snack break/ recess?
15. Did you have a fight with anyone today? What happened?
• The answers that such questions elicit will help you to know more about your child’s day at school.
• It will also help to soothe anxious nerves as the child learns to share all aspects of her school time with you.
• As you hear her answers, it helps the child to validate her feelings as well.
• By asking such questions, you are creating a strong link between the school and home. The child understands that the two are connected.
Remember, parenting is a skill! And each skill requires continuous honing.