If your kids are anything like mine, at age 8 and 9 when you ask them how their day was, you get a short and sweet answer.
Kids this age aren’t terribly articulate unless you prompt them.
Either you can develop a list of questions to dig further such as:
- What was good about it
- Was anything bad about it
- Did anything make you feel sad or disappointed
- Did anything scare you
- Did anyone hurt your feelings
One way to get kids a little more willing and able to express themselves and their feelings is to ask them to write about them. To sit them down with pencil and paper (two tools out of the stone age that we actually still use) or even with their tablet or pc, and give them a writing prompt.
There are several websites that have great writing prompts for kids. Topics range from ‘If I Were The President I Would….’ to ‘I Am Afraid Of……’
Or, if you have specific things you might like to have answered, you can choose your own writing prompt with nothing more than a piece of paper and a printer using a clever font and some clip art to disguise that it’s really just you asking the question. It might help kids talk more about a death in the family, incidents at school, how they feel about adoption, if any kids they know are using drugs, and just about anything else you might like to know. At a certain age they will get hip to it, of course, but it’s at least a way to get younger kids to express themselves and their feelings beyond the simple ‘good’ answer.
You can also prompt them to engage in creative (story) writing rather than expressive writing.
Some of the sites I’ve used to find some writing prompts for my more reluctant reader are below:
And lastly for those parents of technology-inclined kids, there’s even an iTunes writing prompt app for iPads: