The top 5 things never to ask your child right after school

You want to interact and make a connection. Your kids do, too, but not in the way you might think. You’ve missed them, want to know what they did in your absence, how they got along, or if they had any problems. But to your kids, questions feel like an interrogation.

They just spent a long hard day meeting (or not) expectations, doing things they don’t want to do, following orders, coping as best they can, and hopefully working hard and learning. They need a break. They need to know, here is the place where I am completely accepted and loved. They need to chill.  When your kids get off the bus, climb in the car, or come through the door, welcome them back home. A big smile, a hug, a touch and an “I’m so glad to see you” or “Hello, my darling” will give your kids the grounding that home provides with no expectations. Your unconditional happiness in greeting them will create the stress-free, safe haven they need to refuel and relax... and will set up the way the rest of the day goes.

There is plenty of time for what you want to know. Be patient and meet your child where he or she is at the end of a long day. Parenting expert Bonnie Harris outlines five questions to avoid asking, especially if you want to avoid all that dramatic eye-rolling.

First Student, Inc./PR Newswire
The first few minutes after you meet your child after school can determine how the rest of the afternoon and evening goes.

1. How was school today?

What if school was terrible? Your child may or may not want to tell you because he has a picture of exactly how you will react with his answer. Does he want to tell you the truth and have you get upset and immediately ask more questions? Or does he want to make you happy so you won’t do the above? Even if it all went well, he doesn’t want to go through the details of the day.

Safest answer from a child: “Fine.”

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

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