You might be one of the many parents out there asking your children about school, around the dinner table, and receiving varied sparse answers in return. As they’re busy texting on their Prepaid Cell Phone and other wireless devices, they give you the same, standard responses. These responses end in the parents asking another question only getting more simplified non-answer answers. Oftentimes, children want to talk about their day, but parents are either not asking open-ended questions or not letting their children extrapolate at all. Children need to feel like adults in the conversation.
Open-ended Communication Works
Parents need to strike conversation that elicits an open response from their children. The best way for children to naturally respond with particulars, imagery, and explanation is for parents to ask open-ended questions that go beyond the basic school day. Once parents open the table to discussions about a variety of subject matters, children are more apt to color their conversation with snippets of everyday life from school to after-school activities and family issues. It’s as simple as believing that when you open up with your children, they will naturally talk about their everyday lives.
It’s a great idea to use images from magazines, quotes from famous people, and words they might not know to let their creative juices start flowing. These types of new images and words allow the children to come up with the open-ended questions. This is a great time for parents to reminisce about their past. Children will share their thoughts and feelings about a subject in much more detail, when they hear about their parents’ struggles and setbacks. It’s also equally important for parents to just start asking some thought provoking questions.
Conversation Questions for Your Children
If you had three wishes, what would they be about, and which one would you want to come true first the most and why?
Where would the best family vacation happen; what would be some of the activities the family would participate in together while on vacation?
Do you think it is okay to curse in public around your family, and why or why not?
What makes you most afraid, excited, or scared?
When you are grown and married, would you like to have children and how many?
Will you try to maintain a close relationship with you siblings and how will you accomplish this?
What does the best family look like?
Is it ever okay to lie and in what situations and for what reasons?
How do people become popular and how could a person maintain/lose their popularity?
How does love differ from the movies versus in a real life situation?
Besides parents coming up with new and interesting, thought provoking questions, parents need to consider each child’s sensitiveness. Parents need to feel comfortable piggybacking off each child’s responses to talk about their childhood. Children and parents build memory and their ability to create narrative on good conversations at the dinner table.