How to Get Your Kids Talking

Some of you might read the title of this article and say, “Get my kids talking? I can’t get them to shut up!” But if you’ve got elementary school-aged kids – especially boys – you might understand a little better. When kids head to school, they lead a life completely away from us. Sometimes, we don’t know if they’re eating their lunch, sitting alone at recess or if they’ve made a fantastic new friend.

{ MORE: Is the Traditional Family Dinner Even Plausible Anymore? }

This dynamic can be unsettling for even the most stalwart of parents. You’ve spent years being intimately familiar with your child’s daily routine from morning until night, and when that changes, it can feel like you’re completely unplugged from what’s happening. When my son was in kindergarten, I’d pick him up after school and immediately pepper him with questions about his day: “What did you do today?” “Who did you eat lunch with?” “Did anything exciting happen?” I’d usually get a flat “I don’t know” in response. Soon, I learned that there are better times and places to encourage a dialogue.

Slow Down for Family Dinnertime

It sounds cliché, but it’s true: dinnertime can be a great opportunity for the entire family to slow down and connect with one another. Turn off your phones, the TV and any other distractions. Sit together and have a meal at least twice a week. Plan ahead for everyone to take turns talking about their day, or even talk about a current event that might be happening that’s relevant to your children. Stuck over what to talk about? We’ve used helpers like the Beginner Dinner Game or Table Topics Game – Family Edition as a fun way to start a conversation. These are both card sets that help spark conversation or start short, easy games at the dinner table.

Don’t Overlook Bedtime

After a long day, it’s tempting to just push our kids into bed and breeze through the nighttime routine so we can have a quiet moment to read, zone out to some TV or simply collapse from exhaustion! But I’ve found that this is the perfect time for kids to start sharing. They are relaxed, comfy in their pajamas, and free of distractions. Some of the best conversations I’ve had about what happened in my 9-year-old son’s day have occurred as we snuggle in his bed for one last hug.  I always try to linger for just a few extra minutes now to give him the opportunity to share anything that’s on his mind.

Be Ready for Car Conversations

ADVERTISEMENT

One of the perfect recipes for getting your kids to talk is to put just one of them in the car alone with you and drive somewhere. I can spend the whole day with both kids and not get a lot of details about how the prior day at school was. But I can put just one of them in the car with me and suddenly, information starts pouring out of them like water. Keep the radio and your cell phone off for a bit and just begin to chit chat with your child as you drive. You will be surprised at the things they share or ask you about.

{ MORE: Too Old for Mom's Kisses }

I’ve now stopped cross-examining my kids after school every day and I let them choose the time and place that they’re most comfortable sharing. I’m always amazed at how open and honest they are when the discussion happens on their terms and when they’re ready.

What ways do you try to open a dialogue with your children?

 

What do you think?

How to Get Your Kids Talking

Gigi Ross is a wife, mom of two, fumbling foodie, social media geek, Jason Mraz groupie, reality TV show addict, tech lover, freelance writer and wine drinker - not necessarily in that order. Gigi has been involved in all things internet since 1997 - from running e-commerce sites for Fortune 500 companies, to starting parenting forums, to writing her personal blog - if it's online, Gigi wants to know about it! Gigi's personal blog is KludgyMom, a snappish take on parenting, pop culture, techn ... More

Tell us what you think!

4 comments

  1. I got to practice this very helpful

  2. sheenaholman says:

    Dinnertime is the best time for family conversations.

  3. Alison Lee says:

    Great suggestions, Gigi. I have a feeling I may need to put these into practice soon.

Advertisement
[x]
×

EverydayFamily.com Week-by-Week Newsletter

Receive weekly updates on your pregnancy or new baby’s development as well as Free Stuff, Special Offers, Product Samples, Coupons, Checklists and Tools you can use today, and more from EverydayFamily! Plus all new members are entered to win FREE diapers for a year! Receive weekly updates on your pregnancy or new baby’s development as well as Free Stuff, Special Offers, Product Samples, Coupons, Checklists and Tools you can use today, and more from EverydayFamily! Plus all new members are entered to win FREE diapers for a year!

Due Date or Baby's Birth Date


By clicking the "Join Now" button you are agreeing to the terms of use and privacy policy.

Send this to a friend