How I Got My Preschooler To Talk About What Went Wrong
Inside: Learning how to get your preschooler to talk about their day.
"I am sorry mam. We gave your peanut allergy child the wrong snack."
- wait, WHAT?
"I am so sorry. We are so very sorry. We will do better next time. But this time, we gave your child the wrong snack."
I cannot feel my legs. My heart is bouncing out of my chest. And I want to throw up. Maybe even on her shoes.
My four-year-old seems fine.
We move forward towards the door.
I look down. - "Greyson. Do you have your own underwear on? Who's are these?"
Now I am completely dumbfounded.
Allow Me To Back Up.
It was our first day.
I had recently joined a mom's group and decided to give childcare a try. Up until this point, the only place I drop off the kids is my parents. As I peel out of the driveway I typically do not look back.
But this time was different.
This time I was nervous.
My four-year-old has a food allergy and my nerves were a little higher than usual. But he is ready. I am ready. And we gave it a try.
Now, What in the World Happened in There?
We Are Back in the Car and I Needed Answers.
Have you tried getting specific details from a four-year-old?
I had to think creatively.
I did. And I got answers.
Here's How I Got the Information I Needed:
Once we got home, I made sure the boys were good and fed. Because who wants to answer questions hangry?
Very quietly I unrolled our large white butcher paper.
Taped a large piece onto the tabletop.
And gathered our newest collection of markers. - The good ones with freshly pointy tips.
I began to draw as we talked.
Starting off very slowly.
"Look, Grey. This here looks like the shape of your classroom. I remember right here was where we entered. Do you see this? I am going to draw the door."
"You're right, mom! That is where we walked in!"
"Hmmm, I think I remember seeing a kitchen set. Is this where the kitchen set-up was? I am going to draw it right here."
"Yup! The kitchen set-up. I made waffles with that boy."
"Oh! I know. I saw a rug in your classroom. Now., where was that rug?"
"Over here, mom. With lots of books everywhere."
As We Continued Talking, I Waited to Drop the Bomb.
Nice and steady, just waiting, until I knew we would arrive at some answers.
"Oh, I remember seeing two potties in your classroom! Is that right? Show me where they were!"
"Here! They were right over here! I went on this potty because a girl was in this one!"
"And how about that snack? Show me where to draw the snack table and what you were able to eat."
Boom. And there they were.
Pieces of the story were coming together like a Melissa and Doug puzzle. Perfectly fitting parts into all the empty spaces.
"Now, circle the potty you used. Did you have an accident or use the potty?"
"Noooooo, mom. (eye roll) I used this potty right here. The little one.", my four-year-old confidently circles the top potty.
Phew. I take a second look. Yup. I see these are a pair of undies from awhile back.
And that snack? Nope. Not the one we took to class. But everything seems to be well with my four-year-old.
Why Did This Work?
Because it created a visual to trigger memories from his day.
I was also the facilitator rather than the dictator.
Simply put, I gave my four-year-old the tools and the space he needed to share the answers when he was comfortable.
Do YOU Need Answers?
Follow These FIVE Steps:
- Find a quiet location.
- Make sure your preschooler is well fed and well rested. (again, no one works well hangry)
- Create a visual to set the scene. (dry erase board, butcher paper, chalkboard)
- Slowly begin your conversation, weaving into what you would like to better understand.
- Be patient. Save this strategy for the BIG mysteries and when you have time to ease on into the storyline.
And Guess What?
Practicing this strategy will also help your preschooler feel more comfortable upon entering Kindergarten.
By Kindergarten, children will be asked to use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to narrate a single event or several loosely linked events, tell about the events in the order in which they occurred, and provide a reaction to what happened.
Kindergarteners will also be asked to with guidance and support from adults, recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.
Want More Great Ideas That Your Preschoolers Will LOVE?
Try our Alphabet Activity Cards shown below.
How do you talk with your preschooler? Share in a comment below!