Why It’s Normal for Your Kid to Not Talk About Their School Day

How often do you ask your kid, on picking them up from school, “How was your day?” And how often do you get the response, “Fine”, “Okay”, “I don’t remember what we did”, or even a simple shrug? Many parents worry about what their kid is getting up to at school, as responses like this suggest a lack of interest or even a dislike for school. However, these types of responses are very normal. Read on to discover why, and how you can help your kid to open up more if you want to.

Keeping School and Home Life Separate

Many children, even those who love school and have a very happy home life, seek to keep the two separate. This doesn’t mean that they won’t invite school friends round to their home, or attempt their homework, but it is a healthy and normal reaction. Just as many adults don’t want to dwell on work when they’re relaxing at home, kids also (subconsciously or consciously) switch off from what they’ve done during the school day. Some teachers refer to this as “keeping school and home separate”, and generally it’s nothing to worry about.

Get Creative

If you do have concerns that all is not well with your kid at school, don’t worry your kid by insisting they tell you. Instead, get creative—why not suggest that the two of you draw your days together, selecting key moments to put down onto paper? For you, this might mean sketching your morning meeting, drawing a picture of your delicious lunch, and doodling an image of your brainstorming new ideas at work. Notice what your kid comes up with—if it’s all images of them playing with friends, listening in class, and lining up in the lunch hall, chances are you have nothing to worry about. If anything in their drawing concerns you, it may be time to check in with their teacher if they are still refusing to open up about school.

Three Questions Rule

Even if you think there’s nothing wrong with your kid at school, it’s natural to have a parent’s curiosity and to want to know what your kid has been up to all day. To avoid frustrating them or stressing them out, you can set a “three question” rule—you get to ask them a maximum of three questions (which they need to make an effort to answer) about what they’ve done in their day, and then you’ll move on. This way, you get some information out of them but they don’t have to worry that you’ll keep them from playing their favorite game while you question them about school.