Q: How do I get my eight-year-old to talk about what he did in school? I have no idea whether he likes school or what he’s learning.
A: Ask open-ended questions that don’t suggest you have any expectations (instead of “Did you have fun today?” ask him, “What did you do today?”). Sometimes when parents don’t get an answer right away, they make the mistake of asking again, either the same question or another one, which only adds pressure. Instead, wait patiently for an answer. You might have to wait until your son thinks through his day or decides what to say. Rather than asking questions at all, you might try talking about what you remember learning at his age. Also, consider meeting with your son’s teacher so you can share what the teacher has told you about his experiences at school. If you have the time, volunteer in the classroom or go on a school trip with the class. This will give you knowledge of his school environment and classmates, which might give you things to talk about with him.