Snack time. You know it is all your kids can think about the minute they walk into the door from school – at least if they are anything like my children are!
And if you are like me, this time is precious time for you. Believe it or not, I missed the little ones and once they return home, I am anxious for hugs and recaps of their days.
But that is where it gets complicated.
If I ask the kids, “How was your day?” I typically get, “Fine.”
Gee, great… I would like a bit more detail than that.
Thankfully, after 7 years of after school conversations (and lots of great articles out there), I have learned a few tips that help our conversations flow a bit easier – and I get more detail then just “Fine.” And I am pleased to be sharing that with you today!
6 Tips for After School Conversation
(1) First things first. You must feed the children!
Trust me, a good snack will go far in putting your child into a good mood and allow them to open up easier to you. I have found that if I can have a snack out and ready for them to dig into the moment they wash up, it staves off a bad start to the afternoon. They have learned to expect it and love it.
So what do you feed them? Here is a round-up of my favorite healthy and easy after school snacks:
Smoothies. Less than 5 minutes and a blender and you have a super easy, super healthy snack.
- Super Food Super Smoothie: A great way to get extra antioxidants and a dose of veggies and fruit in a refreshing drink.
- Blueberry Pie Smoothie: Your kids will never know that this shake has broccoli in it (trust me!!).
- Healthy Pina Colada: Creamy, sweet, and full of healthy fat and vitamin C.
- Gingerbread Smoothie
- High Protein Smoothie: skip the powdered junk and make a protein smoothie with whole foods. 20 recipes for the kids to choose from!
- Classic Green Smoothie: A hefty dose of greens that they can’t even taste.
- Whatever-You-Want Smoothie: Ten different random (yet delicious!) smoothies made with various items you might have on hand.
Muffins. My kids love a homemade muffin with a glass of milk any time of the day. I like to make a big batch and freeze them, so I can pull them out for an easy snack. Another option is to freeze the muffin batter, just be sure they’re ready by the time the kids come home!
- Gluten Free Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins
- Whole Wheat Pumpkin
- Blueberry Muffins
- Carrot Cake
- Zucchini Muffins with Apples and Carrots
- Banana Chocolate Chip
Bars and Bites
- Gluten Free, No Bake Granola Bars: A delicious treat that only takes 5 minutes of preparation.
- Chocolate Covered Strawberry Bites: Simple treats that contain plain yogurt, fresh strawberries, and bit of chocolate to put a smile on every child’s face.
- Homemade Lara Bar “Bites”: Mini versions of the famous Lara Bar that you can make at home for a fraction of the price. Guaranteed to be a hit with your kids!
- Chocolate Covered Cherry Protein Bites: A gluten free treat that tastes decadent but is filled with healthy fats, and sweet fruit.
So now that you have the snacks down and satisfied bellies, let’s move onto some tips for sparking conversations after school.
(2) Do not start immediately hounding your child.
Now is NOT the time to talk about an unmade bed or tell them to start their homework the minute they walk in the door. Greet them with a warm embrace, a smile and no phone in hand. Show them you missed them and are happy to see them.
(3) Ask specific questions.
I get better responses when I say, “What did you do in Science today?” verses “How was your day?”
(4) Take interest in who they play with and who their friends are.
If you are like me, you desire to know who your child is around, but you may not have the opportunity to connect or meet with every child your child hangs out with during the school hours. So find out more about them by asking things like, “Who did you play with today at recess?”, “Who did you sit with at lunch?” or “Who made you laugh at school today?”
(5) Be a safe place.
Allow your children to talk to you about not liking their teacher, a friend that hurt their feelings, or their hatred for homework. Don’t minimize their feelings. Talk through a solution with them and help them to learn to extend forgiveness and acceptance (unless this involves bullying – then take the appropriate measures to talk to the school.)
(6) Ask them how YOU can help make their school year better.
Talk to them about what their favorite lunch that you pack is, or what breakfast they feel gives them enough energy to last until lunch. Maybe talk to them about whether they want you to visit them for lunch at school occasionally, or if they would prefer you not to.
Do they want you to drive them to school or do they want to take the bus. I do NOT believe in bending over backwards to make our children’s desires come true, but asking these questions can help you get in their heads a bit better.
Finally, if you are a working parent, do what you can and do not beat yourself up for not being there every moment you want to be. You can chat with your children at dinner or before bedtime. The bottom line is does not matter WHEN you talk, just be sure to talk!
Parents, how to you engage in after school conversation with your kids? Do you have any tips to offer? Favorite snacks? Leave your ideas in the comments below!
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