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Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Raise Your Play IQ – Ask Them About Their Day

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by Alix Tonsgard

Reflecting on your day requires strong metacognitive or higher-level thinking skills. These skills are important and are developed when children are presented with opportunities to reflect, question, predict, and hypothesize. When you engage your child in a back and forth exchange about their day, they have to create a mental image of a past experience in order to recall the information you are asking for and additionally reflect on that, supporting a broad range of academic and social emotional skills.

Talking to your child about their day can be a challenge. Some children won’t talk about it and that’s OK. It’s important to know when to stop and let them have space. More often than not it’s in the way that you ask questions that will get the conversation rolling. Here are some tips for starting a dialogue:

  • Ask open-ended questions – questions that cannot be answered with a yes or no – “What was something that made you happy today?” “What was your favorite activity?”
  • Start with something that you know or observed – Starting with something concrete is more manageable for children than big, abstract concepts – “This year you have to change classrooms for art.  What’s that like?”
  • Share something about your own day and formulate a question from there. 

If your child needs the space to not talk about their day, you can find opportunities for planning and reflection in play or even homework time, We utilize strategies here at DCM while facilitating to deepen critical-thinking skills of our visitors by asking children what type of process they used to achieve an intended outcome and to consider what would happen if certain variables changed.  

The ability to think about one’s thinking and to explain one’s thought process again requires higher-level thinking skills that take time and support to fully develop. When these interactions take place in your child’s life, you are sending them the message that their thoughts and ideas are important.  You are communicating a deep level of respect for them, thereby strengthening your relationship. This is one of the reasons why the child-adult partnership in learning is such a key component of our educational philosophy and why hands-on, playful learning is so powerful.

Alix Tonsgard is an early learning specialist at the DuPage Children’s Museum.

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DuPage Children's Museum
DuPage Children's Museumhttp://dupagechildrens.org/
The DuPage Children’s Museum’s mission is to stimulate curiosity, creativity, thinking and problem solving in young children through self-directed, open-ended experiences; integration of the arts, science and math; the child-adult learning partnership.

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