Monday, March 1, 2010

The Best and Worst

Most of the time when I ask my daughter what her day at school was like, she says, "I don't remember." She's 3, so maybe she doesn't remember. But lately I've been tricking her into telling me a little more info, and here's how:

I'll say, "What were the Best and Worst things about today?"

And then, she'll say something like, "The best was, I made a blue picture", or "The worst was, I fell off of the swing", or if I'm lucky, she might even say something like, "The best was when you came and had lunch with me." Hey, I'm going to enjoy those for the short time they last!

I also like to use the "Best and Worst" strategy after we've gone somewhere together as a family, to review it on our way home. I love hearing what each person's best and worst were. It's a good icebreaker for those shy or quiet family members, and it's a nice way to figure out what each person likes best, too.

One word of warning, though. We as parents tend to want our kids to never experience a "worst" situation. But I think it's good for kids to talk about bad stuff, as important as processing the good stuff. So, when your child says, "The worst was when we saw that monkey who was so loud!" on the way home from the zoo, you have to catch yourself from saying, "Oh, that wasn't so bad, really!" The bad stuff can be validated, and kids actually move on more quickly from it if their feelings are reflected back without judgment. So, you could say something like, "Yeah, you didn't like that part at all!", or "You thought those monkeys were too loud!" My favorite child -talk authors Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish (authors of How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk) really convinced me of the importance of reflecting back what kids say to us, so that they learn to trust their own intuition about things.

Anyway, some of my happiest memories are things that at the time, I had listed as my "best" for the day. Maybe saying the moment out loud to others soon after it happened solidified it in my memory...I'm not sure. But, in any case, the "Best and Worst" strategy is one I'm going to keep using whenever I can!

So, for today: My best thing was snuggling on the couch with my dogs at the end of the day.
My worst thing was the horrible dizzy nauseating icky migraine I had.

What ice breaker strategies do you use to get your family to open up to one another?

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