Small Talk: How to Get Your Kid to Chat About Her Day

Conversation Stopper: Performance Anxiety

"Once your child enters first grade, he's aware that you're paying attention to how he's learning and getting along with others. He knows he's being watched and feels pressure to perform," says Gene Beresin, MD, professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. This feeling of being judged can keep a child from wanting to share details about his day.

Talking Points: Try playing a game or reading together, and see what topics naturally arise. "Sometimes we try to get information too fast," says Dr. Cox. Doing an activity together can help him feel less guarded. Telling you that he didn't know an answer when he was called on in class is much easier when he's feeling close to you. Withhold judgment. If your child feels it isn't safe for him to share the low points in his day, he'll shut down.

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