I don’t know if it a natural form of response that kids normally provide, or at times also think if it is for anyone. I have heard a coworker saying that her 5yr old son would not share anything on way back home from school and parents would have to ask several questions to even know his daily activities.
At times we have had the same experience with our 4 year old daughter. Once we pick her up from the school, here is how our conversations go:
V: daddy, how come so soon, i still haven’t had a chance to play with shakthi, or so and so
I: hmmm.. ok… looks like you have enjoyed a lot at school today
V: < no response>
I: what all did you do today?
I: did you eat your lunch? <i would check her lunch bag now>
V: yes although her lunch box is still half full), (however, the days she would have eaten all, she would volunteer herself and with all the excitement, says – ‘Daddy – naanivaththu ellaa khaali maadbitte” (i have finished all my food today)
I: Great, what else did you do today?
V: nothing (or the standard answer would be I played, I painted, not really specifics)
I: did you play? did you have a circle time? did you share your stories? songs?
V: no, nothing
she would then open up all her daily stories rest of the evening
When I had a conversation with one of her teachers some time ago, she suggested me to not talk about school activities right away, at times kids of their own ego and not really open up at that point. Better to diver their mind from school and talk about something else instead. And then bring the school topics in a better way so kids would open up. Kids certainly want to share all their excitement, mischieves with parents, but we need to give them an opportunity without questioning. And Questioning would take them to defensive mode.
I think I have realized that off late, for tasks that I request her or tell her or ask her to do, when she is just about to do that task anyway, she responds “I know that, I was going to do just that” – well, I think i can relate to it. I normally don’t like to be told, if I am already aware of it and just about to get that task done or get started with.
for this summer, we have enrolled her in a different school for Pre-Kindergarten, and they have a pretty neat way of igniting conversations with the kids of school – CarTalk – this is a cool little note related to the tasks they would have performed through out the day. CarTalk note is just a cool little hint for parents to strike up a conversation and discuss about things on the way home. Like wise, we not only engage them in conversation, at the same time kids tend to volunteer with their daily activities. It was worked ok so far for me when we walk from her school to our house.
About summarizing all at once as soon as they picked up – I realized, how often at the end of the day, that I remember all the tasks I performed during the day at work. hmm… not really, unless i had kept a note of every activity. However, if I just spend some time recalling, i would certainly remember all those over a perid of few minutes or hours. Well, then how can we parents except little ones to summarize as soon as they meet us after the school – hmm… makes sense !
just a few days ago, I came home after a presentation/class about HAM radio, and started browsing through some material. My wife and V came to me, and the conv goes..
L: How was the class?
L: what did you do at the class?
L: was there something ineresting?
this is when I myself realized, if I learned these answers from V or if a. this is a natural human tendency to answer as nothing on a first go
b. a tendency to answer this way when you are not in mood to answer the questions.
c. or, some individuals just choose to take their own time and not discuss much soon after they get home; and share all the excitement or the learnings / activities a little later when not asked… people tend to be not questioned but willing to share if not being asked and the topic comes up.
I think I need to observe this factor with few other people to understand the behavior , hehe