How to get your kids talking about School

26 September 2018

Dear Friend,

How many times have you asked you kids; How was school today? Only to hear; ok, fine, rubbish or receive a shrug? I think most parents share this struggle.

It is almost impossible for me to get any information about school from our autistic son. I loved this analogy I heard on a course for parents of autistic children. The psychologist described the autistic mind as like a filing cabinet, she said that there was a file for each topic, Home, school, grandma's etc She went on to explain that when school is over the file is shut and locked in a draw. 

Perhaps the key to learning about school lies in asking the right sort of question. 

20 questions to get kids talking about school

1. What is the best thing that has happened at school today?

2. What is the worst thing that has happened at school today?

3. What happened today to make you laugh out loud?

4. What frustrated you the most today? Why?

5. Did anything make you sad today? Why?
(Sad can be substituted with happy/cross/frustrated/bored/laugh/tired/excited/scared.)

6. If you could change anything about today, what would it be?

7. If you could choose, who would you like to sit next to in class?

8. Tell me one thing that you learned today.

9. If you could only do one thing all day what would it be?

10. If two of your class mates were leaving who would you want it to be?

11 What would you like to do more at school?

12. Which lesson do you wish you didn't have any more?

13. Did the teacher say anything funny/silly today?

14. Who is the funniest in your class?

15. What did anyone do to help you today?

16. What did you feel most proud of today?

17. What is your favourite playground game?

18. If you could choose 3 children to go out to play with who would you choose?

19. If you could set the timetable for the day at school what would you do?

20. What do you want you teacher to know?

I find that I get a better response at dinner time rather than straight after school as the boys have had some time to process their day. I also like to hang around a bit at bed time after stories because often my big lad likes to talk then and get things off his chest before he sleeps.

Why don't you try out a few of these questions and see what response you get?

Ten ways blogging is like having a child

12 September 2018

Dear friend,

Are you a blogger or are you thinking of writing a blog? Blogging is amazing and has opened up a whole new world to me but there's something you need to know...

I have had a revelation! After almost 4 years of blogging I have realised that actually, writing a blog is like having a child. 

Stay with me, I haven't drank too many cocktails at lunch. I can explain...

Ten ways blogging is like having a child:

1. They need feeding good stuff

Great content is key and my most popular pieces are those I have written with passion and from the heart.

2. They change your social life

The best part of blogging is getting to know some amazingly supportive blogging chums. You find your blogging tribe like you find your mummy tribe. Blogging has encouraged me to get out and about and do more with my family too.

3. You celebrate every achievement

I love reading every single comment that I receive on Spectrum Mum. It feels amazing when a fellow blogger features or shares your post. Appearing front page/blog of the day on Mumsnet or being featured in an on-line publication (plus40 bloggers or The Mighty) is a huge cause for celebration. And lets not even mention the craziness around the Mads (Blogging Awards).

4. You want them to look good

I have had several changes of theme, header and colour scheme. I have spent many hours 'messing around' with things to make my blog look how I want. Your blog is a reflection of you.

5. Some days you're just knackered...

We all have those days where we feel we don't know what we are doing. Most bloggers have a crisis of confidence when their blog reaches the terrible twos.

6. There are sleepless nights...

Bloggers brain can be like baby brain. I find ideas pop into it when I'm drifting off to sleep and I have to jot them down before they disappear then end up writing into the small hours or I check my twitter feed as I get into bed and then I can't get to sleep.

7. You focus on their growth...

Those milestones are important and as a blogger it is easy to get caught up in the Stats, League tables, Klout scores, DA etc It is thrilling to see that people all around the world have read your words.

8.  They can make you crazy...

I admit that I had an addiction to blogging. Be careful or it can begin to take over your whole life.

9.  You worry about their moral upbringing...

What is your niche? Most Bloggers will have heard of the importance of having a niche. My blog has changed direction over the last 4 years but I am happiest and most confident writing about and raising awareness of autism. You have to pick a niche that you really love and feel passionately about and write about that honestly. Be true to yourself.

10. They need praise, rewards or special treats

I am really proud of the positive comments from people in the autism community. I am so thankful that people have responded well to my tales from the scenic route of parenting. Blogging is something that I stumbled into almost 4 years ago and I am still loving the journey and learning a lot.

Would you add anything else to my list?

Photography @My_Dutch_Angle

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