Talking to Children
How many times have you asked your child what they did in school today and they said “nothing”? Do you feel that most of the conversations you have with your children are just about telling them what to do? Many parents feel this way; life is busy.
Giving children opportunities to have conversations is really important for their growth and learning. What to do? Children often ask a lot of questions, especially young children. Parents answer those questions and the conversation often just ends. How do you keep the conversation going? Instead of answering the question what if next time you ask a question instead? Consider these questions: What do you think it is? What do you think about that? What interests you about that? What do you notice? How do you think that works? If you get a one word answer you might make a comment such as, “tell me more”, “I’d like to hear more about that” or ask another question.
Listening carefully is also important when talking to your child. Children respond positively if they know they have been heard and that you are interested in what they have to say. Use comments to encourage your child to keep talking: “Tell me more about that”, “that must have been difficult/interesting”, “it sounds like you had fun”, “you must have felt disappointed/frustrated/angry”. Talk while having dinner together, preparing dinner, going out for a walk, at bedtime, on the way to school or while standing in the grocery line. Think of yourself as a partner in the conversation.