I’ve talked before about having “clutch phrases.” One of the phrases I’ve learned from the Pritchards is, “That’s interesting, tell me more.” It will come up more often with older kids. We want to get to their heart and understand where they’re really coming from. By not jumping in and giving your own opinion or freaking out right away, you have time to really absorb everything they are trying to tell you. Your kid might come home from school and say they experienced something on the playground. This is a great phrase to really get to the heart of what happened. We often have a tendency to either over react or under react. A parent might hear something and run to the principal without digging in deeper to hear the whole story. Remain calm and try and make your home a safe place for your kids to share. This can be a typical interaction with kids:
Parent: How was school?
Parent: What did you learn about?
Kid: We read, did math, and I learned to draw a bat.
Parent: That’s great. Anything interesting happen today.
Kid: Well, a kid had to go home from school.
Parent: Oh, that’s too bad.
This whole conversation can be deepened and expanded by asking the question, “That’s interesting, tell me more.” You could say this phrase and suddenly learn about how your child learned to draw a bat. You also may discover why a child was sent home. Were they sick, in trouble, had a doctor appointment or a family emergency? Kids want to know that we care deeply about their lives. Asking yes or no questions or questions that have a one word answer are quick ways to a dead end conversation. Using this clutch phrase in an interested, calm voice will encourage your kids to share more than they originally might.