Tools for Getting Kids to Talk

Getting kids to talk about difficult issues and/or things that are bothering them can be tough. I try very hard to keep the lines of communication open with my boys, but it is definitely a challenge. Today, I am sharing some of the tools I use to keep my boys talking.

1) Ask Specific Questions - Children (especially as they get older) can be very vague when answering questions, but asking specific questions can help. 

e.g. If you say, "How was your day?", a likely response will be "good". However, if you say, "Tell me one good thing that happened at school today.", you may get a response that contains actual information. Follow up questions are always fantastic too.

2) Schedule One-on-One Time - Kids are more likely to open up during quiet one-on-one sessions, so try to find time to be alone with them each day... even if it is just a few minutes at bedtime when you are tucking them in.

3) Find an Excuse to Sit and Talk - In our house, we have after-school snacks, and it gives us some time to sit and chat before everyone starts to play, head to sports, or watch TV. We've had some wonderful talks while enjoying a special after-school treat.

4) Make it a Habit - Try to keep the lines of communication open every day. If kids feel comfortable talking about the little things daily, they will be more likely to talk about the big issues when they arise.

5) Use Books, TV Shows and Movies - Favorite books, TV shows, and movies can provide fantastic segues into difficult conversations. Netflix is host to a variety of family-friendly shows that explore a range of real-life issues with equal measures of humour, angst and heart. No matter your situation, chances are there's a show and episode that can kickstart a dialogue around the topic just by watching it together.

Here's a quick Netflix reference guide:

For little kids:
Topic: Sibling Rivalry  Watch: The Hive (Ep. S1E1: Babee's Room)
Topic: Following the Rules  Watch: Puffin Rock (Ep. S1E6: Story Weather/ Baba's Adventure/Rock Music)
Topic: Responsibility  Watch: VeggieTales (Ep. S1E1: Puppies & Guppies/Sorry We're Closed Today)

For big kids:
Topic: Teamwork  Watch: Project Mc2 (Ep. S1E3: Smart is the New Cool)
Topic: Self-Love  Watch: The Adventures of Puss in Boots (Ep. S1E13: Star)
Topic: Peer Pressure  Watch: Fuller House (Ep. S1E6: the Legend of El Explosivo)

For teens:
Topic: Actions have Consequences  Watch: The Fosters (Ep. S1E1&2: Pilot & Consequently)
Topic: Body Image  Watch: Glee (Ep. S1E16: Home)
Topic: Self-Improvement  Watch: Unbreakable Kimmie Schmidt (Ep. S1E4: Kimmy Goes to the Doctor!)

How do you keep the lines of communication open with your children? As my boys get older, I know it will get more difficult, and I can use all the help I can get.

Gina (aka East Coast Mommy)

Disclosure: I receive special gifts and perks as part of my affiliation with Netflix.... however (as always) the opinions on this blog are 100% my own.

PS (Another fun idea is to create an open dialogue using a journal. You can read all about it here:

1 comment:

  1. This is something that I had a hard time understanding before.


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