Improve Conversations with Your Children

When my step-kids were younger, getting them to talk was like pulling teeth. Conversations at the dinner table usually went something like this:

Me: How was your day?
Son: Fine
Me: Get any homework?
Son: No
Me: What did you do?
Son: Nothing
Me: So you just sat in school staring at a blank wall all day?
Son: Pretty much

It was frustrating when we were genuinely interested in our kids’ day, but they just wouldn’t give much to our interest in them. All the more wiser now with our younger children, here are 5 tips on how to get your kids to talk to you.

Chill out

No one wants to be hounded as soon as they walk in the door. Give your child time to relax and unwind. Invite him to come out of his room in a half an hour and have a small chat with you.

Set the evening atmosphere

It’s hard to unwind when the house is in total chaos. Creating a calm environment when your child comes home from school will help set that mood for the rest of the evening and invite more one-on-one focus when it’s time to talk about the day.

Picking the right place

Dinnertime is a great place to create conversations but if your family is always on the go, try talking to your child in the car on the way to somewhere. They can’t walk away from you and you will have less distractions. Bedtime is also a great time to talk. Sit on the edge of your child’s bed and invite them to tell you something about their day.

Ask open-ended questions

Avoid “yes/no” questions. Try, “tell me something about your day” or ask specific questions such as “how did your art class go?” Asking these types of questions will encourage more thought from your child and avoid a simple yes or no answer.

Invite them to ask you questions

Conversations are a two-way street. You can teach your child how to be a good conversationalist by teaching him to ask questions in return. Younger children will see it more like a game by saying, “now ask me a question about my day.”

It’s important to teach children to talk to their parents. It’s a valuable tool, especially when they become teenagers and need to trust that they can go to their parents to talk about anything.

Personal experience

More topics on parenting by Jill E. Wright:
Teach Your Family to Give All Year Long
That Humming Noise is the Dishwasher
8 Uses for a Rainy Day Box

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