Latina moms are known to offer a wealth of wisdom and advice when it comes to parenting. But as time has passed, so have the parenting tools we need. When we are not flocking to our moms to get her tricks on getting a picky eater to eat their veggies, social media is the next best source of helpful advice from other parents and even celebrities!

Eva Mendes is among the many talented Latinas in Hollywood known for her beauty, fashion, and success as an actress. She is also a mother of two girls, who she shares with her husband, actor Ryan Gosling

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While the power couple have mostly kept their personal lives private, Mendes recently shared a parenting tip on her Instagram account that she learned from teacher and author Katie Plunkett about how to start honest and constructive conversations with your kids using S.O.C.K questions.

If you’re anything like me, this tip immediately caught my attention, and I was ready to take notes!

What are S.O.C.K questions and how do they work?

The Instagram post on S.O.C.K questions explains how questions like “How was school?” tend to be “too big & honestly just too boring to get most kids talking.” Using the S.O.C.K method, the focus is on asking kids specific, open-ended, creative, and kid-friendly questions. 

Plunkett gives some great example questions such as: “Tell me something that you worked on that made you feel proud,” and “What is something you find difficult right now?”

If you think about it, even as parents, when someone asks you how your day has been, we tend to answer with a default, one-word answer: “Good,” even on the bad days.

Maybe we should cut our kids some slack whenever they can’t seem to answer our usual questions

Using the S.O.C.K. method gives kids the opportunity to think about what we are asking. It also allows them to come up with something more insightful to their day than a simple shrug. Okay, there will be days when we will still get a shrug or no answer at all. That’s okay too!

But Mendes’ enthusiastic response of: “Gracias @thecalmclassroom for these superrr helpful tips. They work !” makes me hopeful and ready to try this daily.

Putting S.O.C.K questions to the test

I can safely say that Mendes’ post came at a great time for my family. We were in the middle of those weeks after school ended and before my oldest daughter began her summer program. 

Her father and I still have to balance our time between our jobs and caring for our feisty three-year-old twins. Meanwhile, my 10-year-old daughter tends to keep herself busy with crafts, playing video games, and spending time outside in the yard when the weather permits. 

Even though I have always been big about checking in on her throughout the day, I tend to ask the same general questions: “How was your day?” or “What did you do at Abuela’s house today?.” They are usually met with the same unenthusiastic “good” or “nothing much.” 

While I felt that maybe my daughter just wasn’t in the mood to talk some days, these kinds of interactions really made me feel like I was missing out on huge parts of her daily routine. 

Since learning about S.O.C.K questions, I’ve learned to restructure the kind of questions I ask and how I ask them. For instance, even when I am exhausted after work, I make sure my tone in speaking with my daughter reflects my excitement in listening to her day. 

Because I know that she is always working on different kinds of crafts and artwork, I’ve started asking her things like “Which craft was the most fun to make today?” or “When you spoke to so and so today, what was something they said that made you laugh?”.

Using this tip in daily life with my daughter has helped us both open up to honest conversations 

Knowing our kids’ emotional state is very important to parents, and using S.O.C.K questions has helped me better understand her. Instead of getting a simple reassurance that everything is fine, I’ve gained deeper insight into what my daughter cares about. I now know the things that weigh on her mind and what genuinely makes her happy. 

This is definitely a tip I will be using even after my kids get much older. Because why not make all our conversations fun and meaningful? 

Thank you to Eva Mendes for sharing this wonderful advice. I fully agree that it works!