3 ways to make talking with your children fun
When your child couldn’t communicate, you thought your life would be so much easy when they finally could. Expect maybe it wasn’t. Just because your child can talk doesn’t mean they want to communicate. Want your children to open up about tough topics? Start with the not so important topics. When they know you’ll listen to them talk about their love of comics or dance without judgment, they are more likely to tell you about their hopes and fears. There are multiple times each day to talk to your kids: around the dinner table, as part of the bedtime routines, or in the car.
We believe that communication should be fun! We found that kids respond well when “communication” feels more like a game and less like an obligation. Here are 3 of our favorite ways for make communication more fun.
Make it silly
Children have a talent for seeing humor in situations. Using humor or getting your child to laugh magically helps to break down walls and barriers which makes whatever is being discussed a lot less scary.
Teachers know this secret well. Remember how your teacher made reading or science more fun by acting silly? Maybe they used crazy voices, dressed up in costume, or exaggerated everything they did. And you loved it.
Apply that same principle to your child. Use a crazy silly voice. My sister has a witches cackle that her kids love it when she uses. Sing a song—especially if you’re terrible at it. Pull out puppets or paper dolls. Tell bad jokes. Really the options are endless to what you can do what to make it silly. Your child may roll their eyes but secretly they love it.
Turn the tables
Allow your children to do the asking. When your child sees you opening up and answering any questions, it creates a space where they are more willing to do the same. Let your child know that nothing is off limits—embarrassing moments, mistakes, triumphs, dreams—they’re all fair game.
My 5-year-old nephew loves nothing more than asking silly questions to his mom, dad, sister, aunts, uncles, and, of course, his grandparents. Because we can’t say the same thing as everybody else, we’ve gotten creative in our answers. He loves it and we love that we make him smile and laugh.
Turn it into a game
Actually turn it into a game. Games are a wonderful way to communicate because they’re non-threating and because your child feels safe you’ll probably get more honest answers.
There are lots of different communication type of games to fit every age group and personality out there and we have a number on our website.
Some that we love are:
- Would You Rather and Get to Know You type questions because you can play them anywhere. Think in the car, at the dinner table, getting ready for bed, waiting in line, on a walk. They take very little preparation. There a multiple sites that have questions ready for download. You can even pull them up on your phone. They don’t require a lot of time. These questions are such they can be answered in a few words or sentences.
- Personality quiz or questionnaires may be the answer for an introverted child as it allows them to answer without feeling like they’re being put on the spot.
- Having to answer as many questions about themselves in a set amount of time. Teenagers especially love this one.
- Create a song. Have your child create a song on a specific topic you want to know more about or on something they’re thinking about.
The possibilities to make communication more fun are endless. You know your children best and know what specifics will work with them. Just remember, it doesn’t really matter how you’re communicating only that you are. You’ll be amazed at how much opening the lines of communication improves family life.