Shihan Graham provides two simple ways to gain insight into your child’s life and become a better communicator with them. Read below to find out how to amplify your relationship today!

Okay, guys, Shihan Graham here. With this week’s blog, I figured I would like to share with you something that’s a little bit more personal to me. Being a father of three and two of my kids are now in school, with one heading to year three, geez, there’s a couple of things that I really challenge myself to do in getting engagement from these guys.

Now as a parent, when I pick my kids up from school, or they’ve done their own training or martial arts class and I’m not around, I ask, “How was your day?” And guess what their answer is? “Good.” Now, that’s a standard that I don’t expect or even a language I try encourage my kids to be even better than.

So, one tip today is if your kids say, “Good,” ask them, “What’s a word better than ‘good’?” Great. Fabulous. Outstanding. Look, it can be a fun little bit of an interaction with you guys, but it certainly helps them to think a little bit different, even at different ages, like from a five year old right through to a fifteen year old.

Number two is going to be when they say, “Good,” now instead of just stopping and accepting that as an answer, have a planned word, yes, but then ask them a question. “Well, what was your favorite thing about your day?” “What did you do at lunchtime?” “Who did you hang around with?” Again, I know that they will generally have sort of short answers, like kids do, but it’s a great way to start building that interaction, getting that dialog and conversation going.

Flip the coin, ask them as well too, “What was the thing you didn’t like doing as much today?” And from a schooling point of view, it’s a great way just to get some insight on how they’re going. For you guys, the parents who may be having kids who are a little bit shy at school and could be dealing with different challenges, it’s a really great way to sort of interact and get an understanding for some of the challenges they go through.

Then also too, for you parents there that don’t always get a chance to watch your kids training, use the same thing. “What was the favorite thing you enjoyed in class today?” Or even if you do sit and watch, on the drive home ask them, “What was your favorite thing? What was the thing you didn’t like to do as much?” And it’s a great way for you to build that dialog, rather than just sit, forget, and have the kid sort of just go, “Good,” and that’s an answer you guys expect.

So two things today. One was ask the kids, “How’s your day?” If they give you, “Good,” try and find a play on words, try and find words better than “good.” Outstanding. Marvelous. Brilliant. Number two, dive a bit deeper. Instead of just saying, “good,” well, be a bit more specific. “What was your favorite thing about today?” “Recess.” “Well, what was it about recess? Who did you play with?” This, and that, and the other.

And then number two on that, sort of part two to that question, “What was the thing you didn’t like to do as much today?” Asking these two things is a great way for you as a parent, especially for me with little guys, to develop that conversation, communication, so it becomes second nature and they’re not just distracted on a phone or with their head out the window.

So, two little, great tips for you guys today. Go and test it out. I know school is heading back soon, so let me know. I would love some feedback on how it worked for you guys. Take care.