Engaging your Kids in Meaningful Conversation

How many of you actually feel that it’s easy to have a conversation with your kids? I’m not just talking about a conversation of, “How’s your day? It’s good. Okay, great. What do you want to do today?” I’m talking about a real conversation that has engagement, that has emotion in it, and that has thought to it. A lot of parents that I work with nowadays say that they do talk to their kids, but it’s really just shallow talk. They don’t really know how to get their kids to engage. If they start asking their kids all these questions, they get, “Ugh! You’re so annoying. Ugh! Why do you always ask so many questions?” Butt out, does that happen to you? Do you get those types of responses from your kids?

What if there was a way that I could teach you to get your kids to engage? It’s not asking a bazillion questions; it’s really about getting them to talk about themselves, about what they love, and about what they think about things. Get their thought process. When you do this, you’re able to start to understand the filters that your children use to see things. For example, if you ask them, “How was your day?” how many of us get, “It was good.” I still get that. What if you went deeper and said, “Tell me what was good about it? Is there anything about your day that you found challenging? Is there anything in your life that you need support with? What was a magic moment that you had today?” Now, I’m not saying ask all these questions one after the other; pick one of them.

Sometimes, when I just say, “What was your magic moment today?” and they tell me about it, “What was so magical about it? What is the one thing about that that you want to keep forever, that it was just a beautiful memory or an awesome memory that you had today?” Maybe start to share about your childhood. Can you relate to anything that they said about their day? Can you have them experience what life was like when you were their age—back in the day, as my kids call it? This is how we get our kids to open up. We get them to see us as little people who hadn’t experienced just like they did once upon a time too. We’re not just the parent that’s telling them what to do and what not to do and if they did it okay or if they didn’t. We’re not here to judge them. When we are able to engage with our kids and create that nurturing conversation, that engagement in that conversation, what we get to do over time is that feeling in our kids that they can be open, they feel safe, and they can trust us to have that communication.

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