Parenting expert explains why children won’t tell you how their day was, and how to encourage them to

·3-min read
Parenting expert shares questions to ask children to find out about their day (TikTok / @parenting.with.dr.siggie)
Parenting expert shares questions to ask children to find out about their day (TikTok / @parenting.with.dr.siggie)

A child development expert has revealed why parents struggle to get their children to answer broad questions about their day, and what to ask instead.

Dr Siggie Cohen, a child and family psychologist who specialises in child development, regularly shares parenting advice on her TikTok, where she goes by the username @parenting.with.dr.siggie.

In a video uploaded earlier this month, Dr Cohen addressed the vague answers that parents often receive when they ask their child how their day went, and the reason why children struggle with the question.

“You pick up your child from school and excitedly ask: ‘How was school today?’ but you get: ‘I don’t know,’ ‘I forgot,’ ‘fine,’” Dr Cohen began the video. “Of course you want to hear they had a great day, but your child just ended a long day full of effort.”

According to the parenting expert, the reason that children often give short answers is because, after a child’s long day, that question is “too big” and “too general” for them to be able to respond to.

Dr Cohen then went on to share an alternative method that parents can employ to attempt to find out about their child’s day, with the psychologist encouraging parents to instead ask “specific” questions such as: “During snack time, who did you sit next to?” or “Did your teacher say something funny today?”

“Help your child breakdown their big experience in a more detailed and balanced way,” she concluded.

The video, which has since been viewed more than 2.8m times, has prompted numerous comments from parents who have thanked Dr Cohen for the advice.

“Thank you for this info. I’m guilty of asking the same question. I’m now a little bit more educated,” one person commented, while another said: “OMG thanks for this! This is exactly what I needed.”

Someone else added: “This is my everyday story after picking my son up from school and it upsets me. Thank you for the help.”

Other viewers shared their own positive experiences using the tactic, with one parent revealing that they learned to do this with their daughter by asking: “What was your favourite part of your day?” and that they “always get an answer”.

“I figured this out. It definitely works. Sometimes I’ll also tell a story about when I was in school he can relate to and it triggers a conversation,” another parent shared.

This is not the first time that Dr Cohen has shared tips for better communicating with children, as a previous TikTok saw the parenting expert encourage parents not to ask kids to “promise” as “children lack foresight, live in the moment and don’t yet understand long term consequences like you do” and are not yet capable of promising.

According to Dr Cohen, instead of asking a child to promise never to do something again, parents should try telling them: “What just happened, not ok. And I think you know that. We’re going to work on a plan together so it doesn’t happen again.”

The video prompted one viewer to comment: “As a parent, I learn so much from you. Thank you.”

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