As parents and educators, we all know how hard it can be talking to kids. The feeling of asking a question and being met with blank stares can be hard to shake. While this feeling can feel awkward and even upsetting, we must look at the questions we are asking. Instead of the typical How was your day? – it was good – question and response, we can reframe our questions to spark deep meaningful conversations. If you are looking to build strong relationships with your child, try these 3 conversation starters that make talking to kids easy:
1. Conversation Starters to Enhance Family Relationships
It is important for your child to feel a sense of belonging and importance within the family. To connect with your child, try to spark conversations about the family and what family means to them. You may discuss family members, siblings, and people that you hold dear to your heart. You might be surprised to see the many opinions and observations your child has! Talking to kids almost always brings unexpected insights. Here are some great questions to provide some more insight into family and familial relationships.
- What is your favorite thing about our family?
- Which family members are meaningful to you?
- How do you feel about our family rules? What should we add or edit?
- What should we do more of as a family?
- What are the many ways families can look like?
2. Conversations to Enhance Social-Emotional Development
The conversations we have with our children foster strong parent-child bonds. By prioritizing meaningful conversations and intentional language we can enhance children’s social-emotional development. Through conversing, children can practice problem-solving, self-regulation, collaboration, and social awareness, all of which are important social-emotional skills. Talking to kids, any and all kids, plays a great deal in empowering them and creating a supportive environment for them. You may ask,
- Did you have a chance to be kind to anyone today? What did that look like?
- How did your actions today make you feel?
- What was one thing that made you feel happy today? Tell me more about it!
- If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be? Why?
- What was the hardest part of your day today? Why?
- What is your favorite characteristic about yourself? Why?
3. Conversations to Enhance Imagination
As children seem to outgrow the stages of play, it is essential for them to continue their imagination. Our imagination and imaginative skills follow us all through adulthood. It is imperative for all children to practice their creative skills. Talking to kids should be fun! With your child, begin by touching upon some of their interests. For example, if your child loves everything related to space, ask a hypothetical question- If you could travel to the moon what 3 things would you bring? If we could live on Mars, what would we need to survive? Do you think you would enjoy living on Mars? Hypothetical and even silly questions can prompt your child to use their imagination, creativity, and think in unconventional ways. Provide space for your child to think out of the box!
- If animals could talk, which animal would you speak to first?
- If you could invent your very own sport, what would it be?
- If you could be a character from any book, who would you be?
- If you were president for a day, what would you do?
- If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
- If you coil travel to any place on Earth, where would you go?
- If you could travel to space, which planet would you visit first?
- If you could have any pet, which pet would you choose?
To take your imaginative conversations a step further, consider asking your child to draw their ideas. Allow children to represent their ideas in meaningful ways by providing them with a variety of art materials. A fun conversation can easily turn into an open-ended art process! Together you and your child can write, draw, and create new ways to represent ideas. Through imagination and creativity, talking to kids can be a walk in the park!
Overall, meaningful conversations should always remain natural and easygoing. Allow your conversations to be thoughtful, engaging, and child-centered. It is important for the child to feel that they are truly being heard. Be sure to remain flexible during conversations as children can be unpredictable! Conversations may go off topic and that is okay! Which conversation starter will you try next?