The longer I practice the “smarter” I think I get to be. Maybe not “smarter” but for sure wiser. An example of this is how I (now) ask questions about family routines.
For many years I have asked parents about their child’s daily routines, such as bedtime, sleep habits, breakfast and dinner time, after school activities etc. This is great for infants, toddlers and preschoolers, but I suddenly realized that by the age of 5-6 years, most kids do a great job with answering questions, and yes they do so honestly!
So, to get an idea about mealtimes, I usually ask a child what they have for breakfast, especially the school aged children. My mother always told me breakfast was “the most important” meal of the day and that continues to be true. Too many children leave home in the morning, ill prepared for school and academics, due to the lack of breakfast. Once I hear how a child starts the day it is a good introduction to other meals.
I ask kids of all ages about dinner time and “who fixes dinner?”. I am surprised and saddened to hear how often a child does not know what a family dinner is. But at the same time another group will tell me that “mommy and daddy both cook”. Love that!
On to bedtime. If you ask a 6 year old what time they go to bed they say “zero eight zero zero”. Now that took me a while to figure out that they are all telling time on digital clocks! I totally get the code now. I also ask them who puts them to bed, if they have a hard time going to sleep, if they stay in their bed all night and when do they get up for school. Good way to hear about routines and sleep.
I also ask them questions such as “ when do you brush your teeth”, “what do you wear on your head when you ride your bike or scooter?”, “where do you sit in the car?” and they always have honest answers. (us parents tend to sometimes fudge things a bit, but not a kid).
I think I will keep adding to “ Dr. Sue’s test questions”, and call it “Kids say the honest things.”