Getting your kids to talk to you can be difficult. Sometimes it's impossible. One word answers are not unusual. Yet children do have a lot to say. If you have ever been able to eavesdrop on conversations they have with their peers you will be amazed. Many of us spend a large part of our time engrossed in the latest in electronic devices: tablets, mobile phones and laptops. Our attention is vied for by text messages, Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook and hundreds of other so-called communication applications. In all of that, we forget the oldest and best form of communication – talking face to face with another human being.
Why is it important to talk to our kids? If we are able to engage our children in conversation, we are able to find out what their hopes and dreams are, what they like and what they don’t like. Good communication will build a strong foundation for connection with them when it really matters. You will want to make sure your children feel safe and comfortable talking to you about everything, even the not-so-good stuff. So, how do we do it? Try some of the following strategies and see where it takes you:
Again, be silly in the type of things you ask them to invent. Try and join in. Once you get started you will not be able to stop. Your children will love it. Being silly is part of being a child. We should all try to be more childlike at times.
Silly questions have become a part of our school pick up routine. Since we started it, I have learned that my son would like to be a dragon so he can breathe fire. He would rather be eaten by a shark because chances are he will survive, live in the shark’s stomach until he vomits and spits him out again. I have discovered my son would like to be a street light and not a traffic light because a street light has more time off and he would rather be a toe than a bum, because the toe is attached to the foot and gets to see daylight from time to time, whereas the bum is usually stuck in underpants or pajama pants.
My son will often initiate the silly questions and come up with his own. Why not try it in your house? Don't stop with your children, be brave and try it on an adult. A whole new world will open up to you. What would you rather be a Viking Warrior or a long boat? Why?
It takes a village!
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