Family & Education

The words you'd love to hear your children say - but never do

Children at play Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Aaaaah! Chaos

With children back at school, the mystery of what they are doing all day and how they are getting on may be pre-occupying many parents.

Any parent of a school child will be familiar with monosyllabic responses drawn from the question: "How was school darling?"

Wouldn't it be nice if they just answered properly for once?

Research with a panel of 1,000 parents for communications app ClassDojo,has uncovered the top phrases parents of primary-age children long to hear from their sprogs. These are the top 10.

1 "The toys are all tidied away completely and put in the right boxes."

Top scorer in the poll at 35%. Wouldn't it be amazing if the words 'Tidy Up Time' accompanied with an enthusiastic grin actually prompted action? Why does it only work in the classroom? Word to the wise: don't worry about it, just sweep all that toy debris into the corner of the room at night.

2 "Let me tell you about what I learnt at school today."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption So... how was your day at school?

Ah so refreshing. Some 27% of parents surveyed said trying to prise information out of our little ones was like "getting blood out of a stone". But in reality do we actually have the time to listen to chapter and verse on how a volcano does its thing? Probably not - there's too much homework to supervise.

3 "I've got myself ready, so I can go to bed early."

That would cause a severe and probably fatal case of open mouth disorder (also referred to as gobsmacked disease) in most houses, where parents try desperately to coax their little ones to bed. In fact it's usually at bedtime that many children suddenly want to talk about their day.

4 "Thank you for tidying my room."

Gracious comments such as this would go down like a dollop of clotted cream in many homes. What's more likely to be said? "Why have you messed with my things and hidden all my stuff mum?" Give us strength.

5 "I've put all my clothes in the laundry basket."

Not literally I hope. Just the dirty ones please. Wet towels off the bathroom floor or the bed would be a good place to start.

6 "Would you like to see how well I've done my homework?"

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Image caption The walk home can be a good time to catch up

Most of us just want to know that our children have (a) done their homework and (b) tried to do it well. But onlookers might be surprised at what a tussle some gentle parental probing in the homework kingdom can cause.

7 "I think I've watched enough TV for one day."

If that was said in my household, I would expect the television to explode immediately afterwards in horror at being rejected after such a long love affair. First rule of parenting; there can never be enough TV.

8 "I've already packed my school bag with everything I need for tomorrow."

Wouldn't that be nice. No chasing around for a lost water bottle or tie in the morning. Just a smooth and elegant exit through the front door at stupid o' clock.

9 "There's a letter in my school bag that you should probably read."

Ah the letter one. Yes indeed. Usually a collection of crumpled papers appear from under beds and inside socks several weeks after they were supposed to have been read, digested, signed and returned. Hey ho! We can't all be perfect.

10 "I can see you're on the phone, so I'm going to play quietly."

The old phone trick. A really good one to end on. Why is it that the moment the friend you haven't spoken to for absolutely ages calls up, the little minxes start punctuating the air with dozens of irrelevant questions?

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