“Hi honey, how are you?”
“That’s good! How was school today?”
“Did anything interesting happen?”
Does this conversation sound familiar to you?
We’ve all been there. You pick your daughter up from school and you’re SO excited for a few minutes to find out how her day went, but instead of the chatterbox she used to be, she clams up instantly! Here are 3 ways to avoid that awkward silent car ride.
1. Avoid the interrogation.
One way to stop the conversation before it even starts is by having a rapid-fire interrogation as soon as your girl gets in the car. Sometimes it takes a little bit of time and space before she’s ready to process the day she’s just had. When you lead with the overwhelming “How was school today”, her head is going to be flooded with a million possible answers, and it can be hard to choose just one thing to respond to! Let her know you’re happy to see her, but don’t start in on the questions as soon as the door closes.
2. Ask specific but open-ended questions.
When she’s ready to talk, have a few questions that will get the conversation going! Avoid yes-or-no questions, as those tend to feel more like the interrogation we mentioned above. Try something like “Who did you sit with at lunch today?” or “Do you have any exciting/stressful projects coming up?”
3. Don’t try to solve her problems... Yet.
Sometimes your girl will hop in the car ready to vent! Kids face plenty of pressures during the school day, and it’s an honor when they are immediately ready to tell you all about it. But have you ever had an experience where she seems so eager to tell you about her friendship drama, but as soon as you respond, she clams up again?
As parents, we’re quick to jump in and try to solve our children’s problems. But sometimes, that isn’t what they’re looking for right away. Instead of providing a solution, simply listen. Take it all in, and empathize. There is plenty of time to help her work through the problem, but each of these moments can help her learn how to work through whatever she may be facing. If she asks for advice, go for it! If you can sense that she needs your advice, try asking this: “Would you like to know what I would do in this situation?” If she says yes, go for it. But if not, simply let her know that you’re there if she ever does, and continue listening.
Do you have other ideas on how to make your car ride a great experience? Let us know on our Facebook page!