Good morning, Prep School family,
I hope you are well and had a lovely weekend. Mine was filled with a day in Nottingham with Mr Bennett which was great fun. We then went to our friends for dinner on Saturday night and booked a few exciting weekends in the lead up to Christmas. Sunday was spent watching Arthur play football and baking the most delicious plum and hazelnut cake. A very relaxed and restful weekend. Just what the doctor ordered after a busy week at school!
Many parents often say to me that when their child come home from school talking to them is like getting blood out of a stone. I often get asked about how to get children talking and speaking about their day without bombarding them with a zillion question. One thing that we all know is that when children are ready, they will talk and usually you then struggle to stop them talking! After a busy day at work, many of us just want to go home and switch off. We may have had the best day ever and you want to chat and discuss your day in minute detail. Sometimes you want to analysis and work through your day and tell your loved ones about the highs and the lows that you might have experienced, but sometimes, you just don’t want to talk about your day with anyone. Not talking doesn’t mean a day has been a bad one – sometimes it simply means that you just don’t want to talk about it. It may mean that you have shut that part of your day off and now you are focusing purely on your family. It might mean that you ended your day on a high so you have switched off on a positive vibe. It might also mean that you have had a rubbish day (let’s face it, it happens to us all) and that you are not ready or willing to process the day’s events just yet. The standard response that Mr Bennett gets from me when I am driving home from work and he asks me about my day is “It was fine”. However, once I am home, changed into my pj’s, cooking dinner (small adult beverage in hand) and relaxing, I very often talk about many things that have happened in my day – the children’s achievements, the (boring!) meeting I was in, what Patsy had been up to and which classes she had visited, I may talk about staff news or my lunch duty – anything and everything. I think this is because I have had time on my journey home to decompress, to reflect and the reason through the day’s events. . ..Could I have done anything differently? Did I handle that situation well? Was the meeting that boring or was it just my mind-set that day. . .
Our children are exactly the same. They need time at the end of their extremely busy day (and don’t underestimate how busy their days are!) to relax, to reflect, to process and to reason. They need time to switch off, to ‘box up’ events and to reflect on their feelings and emotions.
This is perfectly normal!
So why are you reminding us of this Mrs Bennett I hear you say – well, I came across an article over the summer and it was entitled something along the lines of ‘100 ways to get your child talking to you without them knowing they are talking to you!’ The basic thought behind the article was simple. Don’t ask your child (and this works for adults too) about their day straight away if you want to get an honest and measured response. Start up a conversation about other things and this will help your child to switch off, to regulate their emotions and feelings, to distract them if they are fixated on a single event and to enable processing to happen. In turn, this will allow your child to relax and hopefully lead into an honest and open discussion that you can then ask about school in. . .however chances are, that once they are talking, they will have answered your question without you having to ask it! Everyone is a winner – you have found out about your child’s day, your child will feel that they are leading the conversation, at their pace and in line with their feelings and you won’t be stressed thinking that your child doesn’t want to or can’t talk to you about things that have happened that day!
So my new feature (I still need a catchy name – suggestions welcome) is an idea of a conversation starter for you to try on those days when you feel you need it! I’m going to give you 2 a week as I am sure you can think of your own but hopefully mine will help refocus your mind and make you think about the first question you ask your child at the end of the day – see if you can go a whole week without asking “How was your day?” and see if the responses you get change at all. Good luck, it’s not easy to start with but it’s a great habit to get into!
Quote of the week: “Even in darkness, some birds sing. Even at night, sunflowers grow, anticipate the dawn.” John Mark Green
Well-being tasks for this week: These are all based on self-care September. We need to learn to let go of the thought that self-care is selfish, it isn’t – it’s essential to keep us well and thriving! These tasks and ideas are good for all ages.
Tuesday 19 September – Notice how you are feeling throughout the day
Wednesday 20 September – Enjoy looking at photos from a time with happy memories
Thursday 21 September – Don’t compare how you feel on the inside to how others appear on the outside
Friday 22 September – Take time to breathe and be still
Saturday 23 September – Let go of other people’s expectations of you
Sunday 24 September – Accept yourself for who you are
Monday 25 September – Avoid saying ‘I should’ and make some time to do nothing
Jokes of the week:
Why did the teacher wear sunglasses to school?
Because their students were so bright.
Where do math teachers like to go on vacation?
Why do magicians always do so well at school?
They can handle trick questions.
What is the smartest insect?
A spelling bee.
Why can’t pirates learn the alphabet?
Because they keep getting lost at C.
If you think you can do any better, please send your jokes to me and I can include in The Bulletin.
NEW FEATURE – Conversation starters:
If you wanted to make everyone on the planet smile, how could you do it?
If you had a time machine, where would you go and why?
5 things that I am grateful for or looking forward to this week:
Can you try this simple exercise in gratitude and positivity?
- I am looking forward to meeting my friend tonight for dinner
- I am looking forward to seeing my dad
- I am looking forward to spider season being over – those pesky little things frighten the life out of me
- I am grateful for the last few weeks of light drives to work. . .dark autumn mornings are on their way
- I am grateful for my sofa at the end of a long day!
Sleeps til Santa: 96 sleeps. . .double digit time!
Have a wonderful week,
Take care of yourselves,