There are times when you wish you could get your little chatterboxes to stop talking so they can let you have some peace and quiet. And then there are times like these:
"How was school today?"
"What did you do?"
"Did you play with anyone?"
"Who did you play with?"
"Who did you play with sweetie?"
"I’m tired mommy. Can you play my song please?"
And that’s the end of that conversation. If you’ve experienced this you know exactly what I am talking about. It’s not always the case but the little dears are tired quite often, of course, so you oblige. But, when do you get to talk to them? Most families I know have busy days starting with getting the kids out of bed, getting them ready, fed and off to daycare, pre-school or school. And then it’s taking them out to activities or getting them to do some homework, bath, dinner and bedtime. When do you actually talk to your children?
I’m no expert, but I’ve had some success after getting plenty of advice from friends, family and a few books here and there. It matters ‘how’ you talk.
"How was school today?"
"Looks like you did some painting today. Did you only use orange?"
"No. I used pink also."
"Cool. Let me guess. Were you painting a silly orange/pink bunny?"
finally some giggles
"NoI was painting a flower."
"Was it a silly orange/pink flower?"
"Can you tell me more about what you painted?"
And there’s a conversation. Of course, this doesn’t always work. But I've had more success with this approach to get my little one to ease up and chatter away. Here are some other things I’ve found to be helpful.
- When reading a book, ask questions that could lead to other topics. It’s okay to not finish the book at times. These diversions can often end up in some lovely heart to hearts.
- I learned from my daughter’s teacher, that, as soon as you pick them up from their school is probably not the best time to engage in conversation since they need a little time to decompress. She advised giving them a banana or something to eat that occupies their hands and allows them to fuel up and relax. They will be ready to connect once they have their energy back.
- A few minutes before bed ends up being the one time my daughter likes to share her thoughts. We talk about what was fun and not so fun that day and I get to learn more about her.
- Another favorite bedtime activity is making up stories. One of us starts with a sentence and the other follows with the next. It is wonderful to see her imagination take flight and we both thoroughly enjoy the experience.
- We do away without music on our drives sometimes and I start talking about my day, friends or what I love to do to get her to open up about herself.
- I grew up chatting with family at dinner and though it may not be the most appropriate time for some families it works for us.
- Take a walk. This is one of the most wonderful ways to bond with your kids while enjoying the great outdoors.
- As parents we are often trying to lead them to a conversation that makes sense. It’s okay to be a part of the silliness. Once they have their fill they do open up to things they actually want to talk about.
When do you find is the best times to get your kiddos to chat with you? What are your favorite conversations?
Books referenced: Raising lifelong learners: A parent’s guide by Lucy Calkins