When I pick up my 7-year old son from school, we walk home.
During these walks, I typically enter some weird dad-mode to interrogate him about his day, about what he learnt, who he hung out with, and what he had for lunch. This, I’ve learnt, doesn’t work very well.
So, now I tell him that I’ve missed him instead. And then I keep my mouth shut — prepared to walk home in silence if I must.
My son typically breaks quickly and starts talking about Minecraft or the size or age of stuff in nature. I engage heavily in whatever the topic. If there’s something about school that he wants to get off his chest, he brings it up when the conversation has gotten going — and he’s the one driving it forward.
I don’t know for how long, but this works right now.
The key point: If something isn’t working, try something else.