Questions you should be asking your children to reveal hidden problems

DETROIT - We all get distracted on a daily basis, but are you missing something important that could be going on with your children?

Metro Detroit clinical psychologist Donna Rockwell says parents need to be checking in on their children all the time – even if it is just to listen to what they have to say.

"When children come home from school, rather than being busy with other things, completely pay attention to what they have to say. Ask them about their school day and let them tell you about it," she said.

Rockwell says the process of engaging children will lead them to come to you first when there is a problem.

There are four things parents should be specifically asking about:

The first is sleep.

"You would be surprised how much lack of sleep can interfere with a child's happiness, life, doing well in school, even socially," Rockwell said.

Help your children get enough sleep by setting a routine and sticking with it.

Second, ask about friends.

"Ask them about their friends. What did Joey do today? What happened to Sally? So, you're really getting an intimate look into your child's world," Rockwell said.

Rockwell also says it's important to be up front and ask about any bullies.

Third, ask about how they feel they're doing at school.

"A child can be getting "As" but that doesn't mean they're engaged in the class and even getting the most out of it," Rockwell said.

She said it's important to ask children how they are feeling about their grades and not just rely on input from teachers and reports.

Lastly, ask your children if they feel like they have enough "down time."

Activities like sports, music and language can be good for children, but Rockwell says quiet time is also very important.

Additional resources:

-"Mindfulness for families: More than just meditation, a way to press pause amid busy lives."

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