Family

The Questions I Ask My Kids Every Night… And Why

Questions I ask My Kids

Thank you to April of Mojitos & Munchkins for agreeing to be my first ever guest poster! In addition to giving me a bad case of domain name envy, she has generously provided advice and encouragement for my fledgling blog. I am excited to share some insight into April’s thoughtful and wise approach to parenting in the hopes that some of it rubs off on me before my little munchkin is old enough to hold up his end of a conversation. 

The Questions I Ask My Kids Every Night… And Why

Between sports and activities, scouts and meetings, work requirements and family obligations, it seems that the moments we have in meaningful conversations are sometimes few and far between. Gone are the days where we come home from work and talk as a family while the newborn lays peacefully on my child. Gone are the days where we gather around the living room carpet and watch a toddler scoot and grunt. We have entered a new season of life and it is busy, and packed, and intense.

In the limited amount of time where we are together, I make it a priority to ask 3 meaningful questions. They are quick questions, so my children have no idea the inferring that can occur or the subtle hints I can pick up on. I never make them go into detail if they don’t want to, but am happy to listen when they do. I will never probe for more information but I am a master at waiting silently to see if more will come.

Let me first start with what I do NOT ask. I hardly ever ask about a test score, a quiz assignment, or anything academic. As an elementary teacher myself,  I assume the teacher will keep me up-to-date on anything I need to know in that area. It isn’t that I don’t care about grades and education, after all I am an elementary teacher myself. It is that I AM THEIR MOM. When I am at home with my children, it is my job to be their MOM.

I will keep them safe. I will love them. I will meet their basic needs. I am their mom. But there is more that I need to do as their mother: I need to know that they are happy. We live in a world where our society, our neighbors, our fellow citizens deserve to know that someone is looking out for everyone. That no one is in this world alone. That someone will do more than just dig deep and ask the questions, that they will read between the lines and hear what is being said (or not being said).

The three questions that I ask each of my children each day, from the 2-year old up to the 8-year old are as follows:

  • Who did you play with on the playground today?
  • What did you talk about at lunch today?
  • What was the bravest thing you did today?

WHO DID YOU PLAY WITH AT RECESS TODAY?

What you can learn from asking this question:

  • Are they playing at recess?
  • Do they feel like they are a part of a group when friends, or are they by themselves?
  • Do they consistently play with the same friends or are they meeting new friends?
  • Are they running around and getting large motor exercise, or are they doing activities that don’t expend a great deal of energy?
  • Are they happy?

WHAT DID YOU TALK ABOUT AT LUNCH TODAY?

What you can learn from asking this question:

  • Are they sitting by someone?
  • Are they having conversations?
  • Do they smile while recounting lunch?
  • If they aren’t sitting next to someone, how do they feel about that?
  • Are they scared in the chaos of the lunch room?
  • Are they happy?

WHAT WAS THE BRAVEST THING YOU DID TODAY?

What you can learn from asking this question:

  • Did they TRY something new?
  • Do they take risks?
  • Is kindness in their bravery?
  • Is compassion in their bravery?
  • Are they proud of their bravery?
  • Are they happy?

Being a mom has easily been the most difficult job I’ve ever had. The sleepless nights, the constant worry, the anxiety of how it will all turn out in the end. But these 3 questions… They serve a purpose. They let me know when we’re “on track” and when we need to redirect. They are often times a starting point to a bigger conversation.

What do you ask your children to know where they are in life?

About April

April is a writer, teacher, and mom to three, who believes in swearing, sarcasm, and homemade spaghetti sauce. After nearly a decade in the classroom, she is currently on a leave from her school and has dubbed it her SAHM Internship. She writes about life with her hubby and kids in their suburban midwest life, as well as their travels, and all of the excitement (er, frustration?) that comes with living as a mom in the trenches of parenting. She also loves trying new recipes and sharing her favorites with her Mojitos & Munchkins readers. You can find her writing on Scary Mommy, and she is proud to be a team member with Daily Mom. She loves using the creative outlet of writing to escape the chaos of a typical day. She loves movies, cocktails, lattes, the color purple, and day dates. She thinks the world could do without temper tantrums, soup, the color navy, and temperatures that dip below 20 degrees.

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