Tuesday June 25, 2019
Ask yourself if this sounds familiar: You sit down to a family dinner and ask your children how their day went. The unison response? “Fine.” You follow this up by asking what happened at school only to get a sigh and an exasperated, “Nothing.”
Getting your kids to open up to you is a Herculean task. But it is definitely one that you should work on, especially at an early age.
Here’s how to get your kids to talk more with you:
- Look for the opportunities—Your children oftentimes will come to you with opportunities to start an active conversation. If your child approaches you to ask a question, you need to drop everything to answer it. I know that you probably have a million other things that you are working on and the question may seem completely mundane. But your child is reaching out to you and this is your chance to get them to open up a little more. If you take the time to do this early on, then they are more likely to reciprocate when they get older.
- Be specific when you talk—Don’t just ask blanket questions like, “How was your day?” Instead, show that you are legitimately interested in what is going on by asking more pointed questions like, “What did you do with your friends today?” or “How do you think you did on your math test?” This shows your child that you are not just filling time with meaningless conversations and you actually care.
- Connect with your child every day—You need to set aside some time every single day to just talk with your child and check in with them. Model proper conversation by telling them how your day went. You don’t have to tell them about how bad your day was at work, but you can show them some of what you’d like them to express. A good idea is to set aside meals at the dinner table with no distractions. If you eat in front of the TV or while everyone is staring at their cellphones, you are allowing them to tune out the conversations and ignore you.
- Don’t be judgmental—Another good way to get them to talk to you early on is to hold back from being too judgmental. If they tell you about a problem they are having, don’t instantly try to solve it and certainly don’t jump to statements like, “You always do this!” Instead, listen carefully to what they have to say and be supportive.
Being a parent is no easy task and it can be especially difficult if you have problems communicating with your child. By setting aside time for them each and every day and listening to them when they do talk, you can ensure that they will be more likely to open up as they get older.