When our kids come home from school, a friend’s, activity, sport or church we ask questions about how their time was, what they did, who they talked to and more!
Some of the time we are met with grunts, nods, one word answers and very little details.
I remember striking a deal with my sweet boy in second grade. I told him that he had to come home and tell me 4 details about his school day. I needed something, anything to know how things were going. I told him if he didn’t tell me I was going to call his teacher to get the 4 things! So, I used a Mom scare tactic and it worked.
Asking rapid fire questions, and using scare tactics is probably not the most effective way to get our kids to talk with us.
What could we do to get our kids to open up a little more?
We want to keep open communication, we want to know how they are doing, what friends they are making, we want to celebrate the good in their day, and hug away the bad.
In the past year we have changed some things up so that we could head down the road of effective communication.
1. Ask open-ended questions:
We wanted to avoid constant answers like yes, no, and good. When we changed to asking open ended questions we put our kids in the position where they had to give more than a one word answer.
2. Be quick to listen, and slow to respond:
When our kids do start talking we listen. We make eye contact to let them know they have our undivided attention, and we try to hold our questions until they are finished.
3. Take advantage of certain times:
At the breakfast table, while doing homework, dinnertime and bedtime are just a few times when we have found that we can take advantage of talking with our kids one on one. We have found that they share in greater detail the things that happened. These are the sweet moments where a simple conversation can lead to deep, meaningful talks.
4. Tell Stories:
Some of the most powerful, attention grabbing words are, “Let me tell you a story.” We love telling our kids stories about our childhood. It captures them and allows us to encourage them to share a story about their day or a memory that they have! It also gives our kids an opportunity to know us better!
Feeling stuck in a rut with conversations with your kids?
Getting a lot of grunts, nods and one word answers?
Here are 10 conversations starters for talking with your kids about their day:
*What was your favorite part of your school day? Why?
*What are the best and worst things about school?
*What did you play during recess? With who?
*Show me one fun move that you learned in class/practice today! (for sports, dance, karate, gymnastics, piano etc.)
*What was your most memorable moment today?
*Tell me how ____________ (fill in the blank with a friend’s name) is doing.
*What about your day made you most happy, sad, frustrated, mad?
*What did you do today in___________________(fill in the blank with their favorite school subject)?
*I remember you telling me last week about that project/assignment etc. that you are working on. Tell me how you worked on it today.
*What are you looking forward to doing tomorrow?
These conversation starters allow us the freedom to be able to ask a couple follow-up questions and our kids to talk at ease with us without any eye rolling or frustration that we asked to many questions!
These things take time, our kids didn’t tell us every detail overnight, and sometimes we still get one word answers. The difference is we know how to respond in a more effective way as we talk with our kids about their day.
It has also created an easy flow of conversation, and their constant wanting to share with us. We tell our kids that we are so proud of them for sharing how their day was and how much it means to us.