Parents are always asking me what they can do to build conversations with their children. I always tell them to keep it simple. Here are my top five sentences to use with children of all ages.
- Talking about school. Kids will talk more if you ask them about their job (school) than if you ask about them. “How’s school?” This involves gathering information, listening, and problem-solving.”How was your day at school?” takes the focus to just them and this can be hard.
- Keep it strength based. “You tried so hard at ___ your perseverance really paid off.” If parents focus on their child’s strengths instead of where they are lacking, the child is more prone to share and talk to their parents.
- If parents value cooperation – Teach cooperation – give it a name, “I appreciate your cooperation, or following directions, or planning activities and joining in activities.” Children will often respond to things their parents ‘value’ if they understand what you value.
- Teaching self-control is often an area of concern for parents. Instead of saying “Don’t …” try ” Remember the rules” This allows your child time to re-correct his behavior and teaches him/her so much more about how they function with others.
- Problem-solving is a great skill to pass on to your children. When there is a problem, don’t solve it for your child. Say “Let’s figure it out.” Looking at a problem as something to address rather than an obstacle helps kids want to talk more to their parents.
These are my top five. What works well for your family? Please leave them as comments below so we can all become better communicators with our children.