Studies have shown that when parents and children talk about school and school events, children perform better academically.
Listen to your kids each day after school, whether this means driving slowly, taking a 10 minute walk before household chores in the evening, or sitting and having a snack with them. There might be things your child won't tell you at that time, but because you were listening and opened that window for him he might tell you later.
Make yourself emotionally available to your child at bedtime, as this is a common time for children to unload their fears and dilemmas. Often - right before he goes to bed- your child will tell you about something that has been bothering him all day.
While young children are usually very excited about discussing the school day with you, middle school students are not. To overcome this silence, ask specific, but still open-ended questions. Tell your child to describe his world without constantly expressing your point of view. It's also great to start the conversation with an anecdote from your own day. Try one of these conversation-starters:
Tell me about the best part of your day.
What was the hardest thing you had to do today?
Did any of your classmates do anything funny?
Try asking silly questions like, "Did they serve zebra again for snack today?"
Do you think math [or any subject] is too easy or too hard?
What's the biggest difference between this year and last year?
What rules are different at school than our rules at home? Do you think they're fair?
Can you show me something you learned (or did)
Finally, try talking to your child about current events. This will give him the sense that you consider him intelligent enough to take part in the conversation.
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