Letting go and trusting your child with another adult can be really hard. At the end of the kindergarten or school day you have a natural curiosity to know all about your child’s day. “How was your day?” or “what did you do today?” are regular questions asked at kindergarten and school pick up time.
Whilst these questions come from a really loving place and fill a need for reconnection after some time apart, they can be really tricky to answer, especially for a young child. It’s not unusual for a child to look blankly at their parent, or give a one word answer. All the while the loving adult is asking more questions in the hope that they’ll get an insight into their adored’s day.
This morning I was observing in the kindergarten, quietly having a cup of tea and watching tamariki at play in the garden. Here’s what I witnessed; digging to the centre of the earth in the sandpit (whilst keeping my spade down low and not flick sand at my friends), running through the trees playing chase, placing the ladder against the fence to peer over and check out what was happening on the other side, filling a weedeater with petrol and taking care of the lawns (imaginatively speaking here, we don’t actually have a ‘real’ weedeater and petrol for children to play with), checking out the newly hatched monarch butterfly (looking only with my eyes and not my hands), running up the slide whilst friends were waiting in a line at the top to come down the slide (tears because I didn’t get to the top before a friend came down).
Would it amaze you to know that all of this wonderful play and adventure was accomplished by one child? And in 15 minutes?
Tamariki live completely in the moment. The power of now is strong for them and looking into the future, and equally, recalling the past upon demand is a really tricky thing. In fact, when we look at the brain science around this, it’s not until our tamariki are older does this ability to recall upon request form. It might give you an insight as to why you get a one word answer or a blank look when you ask “what did you do today?”
When your child has had a day that brought challenges, you might get a reply from them that brings you concern. Children are telling you their truth, what is so very real for them. And it’s best to check in with the kaiako team to learn more about the ‘bigger truth’ around the upset or comment.
So the question is, how do I get to know about my child’s day and what’s the best way to reconnect with my child after our time apart?
Touch is important for the young child, a loving hug, taking them by the hand, or if your child isn’t into hugs and touch, then a ‘hug through loving eyes’ is another way to reconnect. Giving a child space and time to reconnect physically with you is important. It can take the walk or car ride home before a child has made the transition from the busyness of the kindergarten or school day before they are able to share words about what happened for them.
Sharing an observation of your child once they’ve transitioned from kindy or school to home, can be one way to encourage conversation about their day. “You looked really happy at the end of kindergarten today” or “I wonder if you’re tired, you look like you had a busy day?” can open up a space for them to share.
Connecting with a kaiako is another way to gain insight into their day, best done in a quiet space and with a bit of a heads up, “I’d love to connect with you at the end of kindy to talk about what Alice experiences in her day” gives kaiako an opportunity to focus deeper and give whanau the insight that is hoped for.
Blog by Traceylee