By Alex Flanagan
I wish my kids would pop into the car when I picked them up from practice and give me the full lowdown on the day’s events. Was the coach nice to everyone, were the kids treated fairly, what did they learn?
Instead it often feels like I’m an FBI agent trying to pry top secret information out of them. A few things to remember about communicating with kids:
First, Listen to them. No. Really. LISTEN TO THEM. In our busy, multi-tasking lives it is rare that we stop everything else we are doing and truly focus on what someone else is saying. Stop. Sit in the car and listen.
Second, ask follow-up questions. When I’m interviewing coaches and professional athletes in my job as a sports reporter I like to use follow-ups like: “tell me more about it,” “then what happened?” or “describe what it was like.”
Finally, remember it’s okay to be silent sometimes too. Often when I pick up my kids they need a little time to recalibrate and relax. When they are ready to engage, here are 13 prompts to get them talking.
13 Things To Say To Get Your Child Talking About Practice
- Who was the silliest person on the team today?
- Tell me 3 words that describe practice.
- What was the funniest part of practice?
- Can you show me one thing you learned?
- Who on the team had the hardest time listening?
- Let me guess how many times you had to tie your shoe.
- What part of practice made you most tired?
- What was the hardest thing you had to do today?
- Tell me about your favorite part of practice.
- If you could change one thing about your workout, what would it be?
- Can I guess how many sips of water you took during practice?
- Did anything happen that you want to tell me about?
- How much did you play?
Alex Flanagan co-founded I love to watch you play in 2015. She was flying home from an NFL work assignment when a learning specialist, who was sitting next to her, shared 5 reasons she shouldn’t feel guilty missing her son’s game. She shared their conversation on her own website alexflanagan.com and the response was so overwhelming it inspired her to create ILTWYP to help parents like herself navigate youth sports.