When my children were in elementary school, I got off work about one hour after they were dismissed from school. For a few years they went to day care for that hour. When I picked them up, they were full of tales about school. Because I had them trapped in the car for a brief time, they talked. In fact, they talked so much that I had to designate the mid-point of the trip home as the place where they changed which child could talk.
Why children only say “fine” when we ask about school
So often, we have trouble getting our children to share what’s going on in their lives. When they come into the house, they are ready to get outdoors with their friends or to connect with them electronically. We miss the golden moment when they are willing to talk to us.
Later, we say, “How was school today?”
“Did anything special happen?”
Basically, we know nothing about our child’s day. And, it is important to find out what’s going on with them for that seven-plus hours of each day.
Insist on time together to talk
If you want to improve communication with your child, insist on a time together. If you both arrive home at the same time, it might work well to sit at the kitchen table and enjoy a snack. If everyone arrives home at different times, see if you can get your family around the dinner table together. Turn off all electronic devices. It seems like “breaking bread” together is a wonderful way to get kids to talk, whether it is a snack or a meal.
Need help finding something to talk about?
Do you find that you have nothing to talk about? Mary DeMuth has a new book out with some great conversation starters. Check it out at Amazon.
However you make it work, remember that getting your kids to talk to you is vital to their well-being. Research has shown that kids who have a good relationship with their parents are far less likely to get into trouble. A good relationship is built on a foundation of communication.
Even when you feel like you are hitting a brick wall, keep trying. Kids appreciate your effort even if they act like they think you’re clueless.