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, 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 communicating with them when it really matters. You will want to make sure your children will talk 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:
1 | Ask silly questions
- Would you rather eat slug poo or fish scales?
- What would you rather be a pearl in a shell or a star in the sky?
- Would you rather try to outrun a train or wrestle a shark?
Don’t forget to ask why when you child has answered the question. The why will make sure they think about their answer and you will learn something about them. There are hundreds of silly questions to ask. Let your imagination run wild and remember kids love being silly, the sillier the question the better it will be.
These silly questions are great for primary school aged children, but they may also help draw your sullen teenager out of their shell. Who doesn’t’ like being silly from time to time? Try asking your husband/wife if they would like to be a flower or an apple tree.
2 | Story cubes
Story cubes are like dice, but instead of numbers the dice have pictures. They an excellent tool that can help your child tell a story from the pictures that are rolled. You each take a turn in rolling nine dice and then you have to tell a story from the pictures that land face up. The best bit is, you don’t even have to buy these dice. You can make your own by drawing pictures and sticking them on.
You can also make picture cards. Just shuffle the cards and put them face down on the table. Each player picks six cards and tells the story from the pictures on the cards. Again, give your imagination free rein. You could cut out pictures from magazines, photo books or internet printouts, or you can draw your own pictures onto the cards to be used.
3 | Ask your child how they would run a school and why
What would they teach? Why those subjects? What jobs would people move on to with the subjects learned at this type of school?
4 | Instead of asking “How was your day?” Ask your child:
- what is the best thing that happened to them today?
- what is the funniest thing that happened to them today?
- what is the craziest thing that happened to them today?
- or one of these 30 thought provoking questions
Be ready with your own answers.
5 | Play “Let’s invent things!”
Some things you could get them to invent include:
- New words for particular meanings
- A way to have less cars on the road
- New grammar rules
- Special ways to deliver ice cream to kids at school and at home in ready to eat format
- How to get to school in under a minute
- How to make sure no one hears or smells your farts in public
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. There’s more to life than counting the number of Facebook friends, Twitter followers, or Instagram likes.
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?