“Everything ok at school today?”

By Rosane Aparecida Alves de Angelo, BCB

In general, parents want their children to have high self-esteem, assertiveness, self-control, autonomy, good social skills, as well as to be responsible, confident, independent, empathic, loved by others and most importantly, happy.
We learn to be in the world through the relationships we have with others. When we talk about the interaction between parents and children, many say that "there is no manual to raise perfect children." Indeed, there is no such manual either on perfect children or on perfect parents, for such perfection does not exist, since we are human beings!
It takes time and willingness to be a father and mother. There is no recipe, but there are principles of behavior about the best way to act to teach and educate a child within the values of each family, after all, what they learn at home they will take with them to the rest of their lives.
One complaint from many parents is that they cannot know from their children what happens at school. Although they are interested in their children’s routine, parents often receive nothing but an "OK" as an answer to their questions. So how about changing the questions to get different answers?
Here are some suggestions that can guide you to start a dialogue that goes beyond single-syllabic responses:

1. What made you smile today? 
2. What is the most popular game in the playground? 
3. What was the best thing that happened today? 
4. Who did you have lunch with? 
5. What was the most interesting thing you learned today?
6. What book did you read today?
7. How did you feel during (math, Portuguese, history, geography, science, English, arts, physical education, etc.)?
8. What did you hear that surprised you?
9. Who did you play with today? 
10. Tell me something you know today that you did not know yesterday. 
11. Who helped you with your activities today? And who did you help? 
12. Rate your day on a scale of 1-10. 
13. Teach me something I do not know. 
14. If you could change one thing about your day, what would it be? 
15. What made your teacher smile? What made he/she frown? 
16. What made you feel proud? 
17. What new words did you learn today? 
18. If you could change seats with anyone in the class, who would it be? Why?
19. What is your least favorite part of school? And the favorite? 
20. If you were to change places with your teacher tomorrow, what would you teach in class?

Open-ended questions (how, when, where, who, why) tend to have more elaborate answers. At first the answers may be evasive, however, persistence is important. Also, telling your child how your day was, with more complete answers, including an example of how you felt or how you solved a situation, will help them expand their vocabulary. Over time, your conversations will flow more spontaneously, for "practice leads to perfection!"