Communication is vital, says Dr Tanya Byron

In a study by Becta – the government agency for technology and learning – 30% of parents said when they ask their child what they have got up to at school that day, their child always replies, “Oh nothing much”. Clinical psychologist Tanya Byron is working with Becta on a blog to promote better communication between parents and their children.

She says this could mask an underlying problem that shouldn’t be ignored, and on her Oh, Nothing Much Blog, she has listed some tips for encouraging your child to communicate openly with you.

  • Ask both open and closed questions, noting which method encourages more information from your children.
  • Alter the times you ask your children about their school day to find which time they are most open and honest – is it on the walk home from school / over the dinner table / before bed?
  • Try talking about your own experiences at school to see if this prompts your children to be more forthcoming about their own day at school
  • Experiment with different and creative communication styles including storytelling and note effectiveness
  • Get your child to start a diary entitled ‘My Week at School – The Good, The Bad & The Funny’ to encourage your child to give you an overview of what has happened at school during the week
  • Ask your child about their day whilst they’re doing an activity they enjoy e.g. playing on the Wii, in the bath, at mealtimes or before bedtime

The blog is part of the Next Generation Learning initiative whose other advocates also include Carol Vorderman and Lenny Henry. You can get involved on the website.

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