"So how was school?" How to interrogate your children

Kids refusing to tell you anything about their day? We have ways of making them talk <cracks knuckles>

"My daughter has just started Reception at St Mary's School for Spies. She is apparently receiving daily lessons from the CIA in resistance to interrogation. All I can get out of her at pick-up is name, rank, serial number.

"Does anyone have any clever tips for getting a child to open up and talk a little bit about what actually happened each day at school?"

Naturally, Mumsnetters are masters of the art.

Interrogation technique 1: Bargaining 

"I say to my son that if he tells me three things that happened at school, then I'll tell him three things that happened at work - it usually works."

"You could ask her to tell you the best, worst, funniest, weirdest, smelliest, noisiest things that happened today. Make it a game and then says things like 'Which friends were there when that happened?' 'What was the teacher teaching you when they did that?'"

Interrogation technique 2: Subterfuge 


"I resort to forensics. Today my daughter's tie had clearly been dropped in yoghurt; she had done something with whiteboard markers, according to the horrific stains; and they had quite possibly been using sand."

"Check the class timetable and the school menu. That way you know a bit of what they've been up to, and you can ask leading questions."

"My daughter has always adopted the 'what happens in school, stays in school' approach. Luckily I am good friends with her classmate's mum, so I find out from her."

Interrogation technique 3: Mind games


"Reverse psychology often works. 'Whatever you do, I really don't want to know what you did today... Nope! Don't tell me...'"

"Ask who was naughty. Guaranteed to work!"

Sometimes, no news is good news


"It's like pulling teeth just finding out what she had for lunch. The only thing I do know is that she is enjoying it, because if she wasn't I'd never hear the end of it."

"It's full-on noise and having to pay attention at school, and mine often wants to just zone out and decompress afterwards."

"My son is four and just started preschool last week. He will only tell you about things which offended him, hurt him physically, hurt his feelings or seemed terribly unfair. I am assured by staff that he has a really lovely time - but he comes home, sighs, lists his concerns with the Early Years Statutory Framework and begrudgingly agrees to go back tomorrow."

Success? You may live to regret it

"Don't encourage it. My boys open their mouths on the way home and by 8 o'clock I'm running away from them..." 

Liked this? Try these:

Make back to school a breeze

How to help with homework

Prepare your kids to go out alone



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