“How was your day today?”
“What did you do today?”
“Learn/see/do anything exciting?”
This is pretty much what every conversation with my daughters was like, till about a year ago. Whether they’d spent 3 hours at nursery, or spent the whole day with a friend, they pretty much couldn’t remember what they’d done an hour ago, or they couldn’t really tell me much about their day at all.
I found this really frustrating, and after a while, I stopped asking. Not because I didn’t care, but because I found ‘nothing’ or ‘I don’t remember’ to be too infuriating.
But this didn’t sit right with me.
I want to know about their days. I want to know what they’ve been up to. And even if we spend the whole day in the same house, their days often involve different experiences to mine.
About a year ago, I decided to give up on questions that weren’t getting answers, and to instead, change the questions.
While I will still ask loose questions about the time we spent apart, I don’t have feelings one way or the other if they don’t answer fully. What we do now is this:
At night, after they’re in pyjamas and have brushed their teeth, we lie down together in bed and I ask them for their happiest memory of the day, and their worst memory of the day.
In the beginning it took a little work, but now if I forget, my youngest will remind me, “happy memory mama!”
It just takes a few minutes, but by thinking about our happy memories, we are able to highlight and be thankful for the good things that happened during the day. We can hold on to the happiest, and celebrate it together. We can ask more questions about it, find out more, expand, engage.
By talking about the saddest moment, I’ve found out about things like bullying (that weren’t mentioned earlier when I asked how the day was), and about times when they’ve had their feelings hurt. I’ve found out about things I’ve done that have hurt or upset them too, which has given us a chance to make reparations, say our apologies, cuddle and make up.
Taking just a few moments at the end of the day gives us all a chance to get on the same page. It helps us let go of the problems of the day, resetting to zero, it stops us going to sleep with anger between us, or ‘letting the sun go down on our wrath’. But most importantly it allows us to reconnect, no matter where the day has taken us, to establish, to confirm our attachment and our connection, and allows the children to drift off to sleep comfortable and content in the love surrounding them.