Healthy relationships Get the conversation started: how to talk to kids August 12 2016
Renee Bertolus Author Renee Bertolus Bupa blogger

Keeping your family talking is important, but it can be tricky - especially as your kids get older. We share some tips on how to get the conversation started, how to ask kids questions and hopefully keep it going!

As my daughter gets older, receiving anything more than a grunt in response to my questions, seems to be mission impossible. She’s never been a particularly chatty child, but trying to gain any insight into her world though conversation is getting harder and harder.

Ironically, she’ll talk for hours on the phone (or more often via text message) with her friends. So I know she’s got something going on in there; I’m just no longer privy to it. 
And to an extent, that’s perfectly ok. There are plenty of things I really don’t need to know (for example - anything to do with One Direction), and respecting her privacy is important.

However, the ability for us to talk openly, ask kids questions and share comfortably is also important; especially as we approach those tricky teen years ahead.

I know I’m not alone in this. Many parents need to know how to talk to kids. So we’ve put together some tips to improve communication with children and hopefully graduate up from grunts.
Little girl on phone

1. Share a little known fact.

Most people love a bit of trivia and it’s a great way to ask kids questions and get the conversation going. Here are a few examples:

  • WI-FI was invented in Australia in 1992. If you could invent something, what would it be and why?
  • There are over 7 billion people on earth. If you could be friends with anyone, who would it be and why?

2. Set your family a challenge.

There’s nothing like a little bit of friendly competition (and a chance to look a bit silly) to break down the walls and improve communication with children. Why not get everyone in the family to pretend they’re a sports coach, turn to the person next to them and give them a 15 second motivational speech? C’mon!

3. Lose the eye contact.

It might sound silly, but you’d be surprised how much easier it is to start a conversation with someone when you’re not focused on looking each other in the eye. Take the pressure off. Try taking the dog for a walk or go for a bike ride, and see what unfolds.

4. Make it routine. 

At dinner we always ask all the adults and kids questions such as   ”What was the best and worst part of your day?” The routine of this activity means that we all know what to expect, and it’s amazing how the conversation takes off with this little prompt.

5. Tech to the rescue.

If all else fails, if you can’t beat them, then you may as well join them. Why not send your child a text message? It’s pretty insightful what can be discovered through emoji’s and the novelty factor of you joining in on their world will hopefully break down a barrier or two.

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Renee Bertolus Author Renee Bertolus Bupa blogger Renee works in social media at Bupa and is sustained by copious amounts of coffee.