15 Strategies for getting preteens to talk about school

preteens in school uniforms holding microphones and talking

Having a conversation with preteens about their school adventures can sometimes feel like cracking a mystery code. At DPS Warangal, we understand the search to unlock those after-school stories. It’s completely possible! So, let’s explore some simple and super-effective tricks that can turn these conversations into easy, breezy talks that just flow.

1. Ask open-ended questions

Preteen school days are filled with a rollercoaster of emotions, from the thrill of making new friends to the challenges of homework and tests. Instead of the usual, “How was your day?” We could spice things up and ask, “What made your day at the academy interesting today?” It’s a question that truly gets the conversation flowing and encourages them to spill all the exciting details of their day, like the juicy pieces of a beautiful story.

2. Be patient

Just as a gardener patiently watches over the soil, preteens require gentle care and time to unfold their thoughts and emotions. With patience, they will share their inner world with you, like the glowing blossoms of a garden. This however needs a specific environment – much like plants, too! 

3. Show genuine interest

Preteens have a mysterious knack for sniffing out insincerity, especially when it comes to those smiles. When parents show genuine interest in the daily dramas unfolding at their institute, it sends an unspoken message that their narratives truly matter. Lean in, lock eyes, and nod now and then to convey that you’re fully engaged in this conversation, that you’re right there, in the thick of their world, eagerly engaged in this satisfying exchange.

4. Encourage positive self-talk

Preteens are at an age when self-doubt often creeps in, especially when it comes to education or their place in the world. Help them develop a positive self-image by praising their efforts and reminding them of their achievements. You could say,  I saw how much effort you put into that project, and it impressed me. It’s a clear sign of your dedication and how much you can achieve. You can also help them identify what their strengths are, or what areas they excel in. Helping them create a persona without imposing your ideas helps them understand who they’re in the world, without feeling burdened by parental expectations. 

5. Talk about your day

You can lead by example by talking about your day -at work, or elsewhere. It could be about something positive, or something negative and how you dealt with it. Making conversations as a commonplace activity creates an environment where sharing one’s feelings isn’t an event, or a special situation. It encourages your teen to jump in and start sharing their adventures, making it feel like a comfortable catch-up within the family. Encourage this with kids regardless of age. You don’t have to wait for teenagers to establish a good communication rapport between you and your kids. 

6. Talk about your own experiences

Talking about your school days can make it easier for your child to talk to you. Parents can share their stories and ask preteens how they feel when they have to speak in front of the class. This can make preteens more at ease about sharing their own experiences. It’s important to ask open-ended questions and avoid many questions right after school to encourage kids to open up about their day. 

7. Make conversation fun

Academic conversation doesn’t always have to be serious. Parents can spice up the talking with a dash of humor. Try to toss questions like, “If you could change one rule on campus, what would it be?” This way, your mushrooming young adult can have some fun while letting their thoughts flow.

8. Avoid judgment

Preteens are in the process of identifying themselves. It’s essential to be there for them without passing judgment or jumping to conclusions. If they happen to make a mistake or face difficulties, view it as a chance for personal growth. Encourage them to take away something positive from the experience. For example, you may observe them getting into the wrong company. Having a chat helps them view different sides of the equation. You may see them obsessing about certain aspects of their life. Instead of saying –don’t do this, or laying down the gauntlet, nudge them. Help them feel confident about their decision-making.

9. Avoid interrogation

When it comes to talking to preteens about school, it’s important to keep things easygoing. Instead of bombarding them with questions, let the conversation flow naturally. Just let them share when they’re ready. It’s all about finding that comfortable balance.

10. Be mindful of timing 

Think about timing when you want to talk with your preteen about school. Some days, they might be bursting with stories right after schooltime, while other times, they might want to unwind a bit first. Evenings can be a comfortable time for a heart-to-heart talk too. Just go with the flow and let them take the lead.

11. Attend school events

Attending campus events is a great way to connect with your preteens and show them that you genuinely care about their education. Whether it’s parent-teacher conferences, cheering them on at sports games, or being there for their plays, these moments can bring you closer and let them know their academic Journey matters to you.

12. Keep up with their interests

Staying connected with your preteens means exploring their world. Get to know what makes them tick their hobbies, the things they’re passionate about, and what’s happening at school. Show genuine excitement and curiosity about these things, because when you share your willingness, it opens the door for them to talk about their experiences. It’s like saying, “Hey, I’m here, and I’m interested in what matters to you!”

13. Respect privacy

Preteens need their space and time to decide what to share. Let your child know you’re nearby, ready to listen whenever they are ready to talk. Respect the need for privacy and avoid busting open their treasure chest of thoughts and feelings.

14. Stay calm during tough conversations

When preteens spill the beans on something that’s been weighing them down, keep it cool. There’s no need for alarms– even subtle body language such as a nod and a vibe that says, “I’m here, spill away.” Your response and reaction are the ticket to the future heart-to-heart. Turn the space into a comfortable talk where their words can flow freely. Allowing them to talk without judgment is the biggest gift you can offer your child, as they navigate this shift.

15. Be a good listener

Sometimes preteens have a lot going on in their heads. Being a good listener, like a professional, can be a game-changer. An underrated skill –a good listener listens with attention, without interrupting, and most importantly without trying to correct the person. Especially with a teen who’s shy, or afraid to talk – listening with all your senses –eyes, ears, expressions, and touch is useful. 

Effective communication with preteens is really important to know what they’re thinking and feeling. Here are some easy and super helpful tips for parents and kids to talk better and make a strong connection. Remember, trust and a strong connection are the best ways to help preteens during this time and make sure their school journey goes well.