By Long Island
Published: June 09 2020
Use this added family time to get to know what's going on in the mind of your little ones on a day-to-day basis.
By Whitney C. Harris
Family togetherness has taken on a completely new dimension for the past couple of months. We’re spending more time with our children than ever before. And while that means lots of movies, board games, and homework help, it also means we have ample time for casual chatting—whether it’s during a walk around the neighborhood or at the breakfast, lunch, or dinner table. Here are 17 ways to get the ball rolling—and get kids talking! Just remember that if you want your children to talk, you should expect to do lots of talking too. Demonstrate how to give thoughtful, detailed answers. And then zip your lips so the kids can have the floor.
This is a great way to wrap up the day as a family, whether or not you’ve spent most of your time together at home. It allows everyone to touch base, get a sense of the emotional, psychological, and physical wins and challenges of the day, and it particularly helps little ones get into the habit of reflecting and remembering what they did over a period of time. You might be surprised at what your kids come up with! And if you’re feeling ambitious, you can add a “hilarious moment” to the mix, because there are just too many ridiculously funny things that go down during quarantine.
You may not know every moment of your child’s life quite like you thought you did!
Believe it or not, your kids might be a little interested to hear what the grown-ups are working on all day long. And of course parents are curious about what their kids are focusing on for distance learning. This is also a chance to share any new hobbies or skills you’re trying to master, while encouraging your kids to be working on exciting new things too.
Give kids a chance to tell two truths and a lie about their day. Try to guess which is the lie!
This is one of those questions that will hopefully lead to a much bigger conversation about family, friends, connecting with loved ones, and what’s going on in everyone’s lives.
As a parent, you can give your answer first to give kids an idea of what they might have done differently. Maybe you ate oatmeal instead of your usual eggs for breakfast because you wanted to top your oats with fruit and nuts. Maybe you read some of your book after lunch instead of jumping back on email to give your mind a reset.
Take turns telling one-line jokes or trying to make everyone at the dinner table laugh by doing silly faces or dances.
Depending upon the children’s age and maturity, parents should take the opportunity to ask them gently, but directly, what they miss from time to time. This gives kids a chance to give voice to thoughts and emotions that may be just below the surface.
A good follow-up to a question about what’s lacking is a question that puts the spotlight on what we do have.
Someone says a word or phrase and the next person has to quickly say something that rhymes with it. Go around the family circle as many times as you can.
As adults, we may forget that seeing the world through the eyes of our children is seeing everything anew.
Now is a great time to help kids think a little ahead and focus on something to look forward to.
The answers to this could get interesting, from germ fighting powers to time travel!
Each person in the family takes a turn starting a fictional story. The next person adds 1-2 sentences to the story, and then the next person adds more to help develop the plot. See how long you can keep the story going.
Pick an object or idea and everyone in the family gets to cast their vote thumbs up or thumbs down. Some ideas include: Zoom calls. Sourdough bread. Tie dye shirts. Spicy pickles.
Whether you have an entire Saturday to fill, or just a few minutes to do something fun as a family before diving into your weekday routine, it’s worth asking your kids to weigh in on something they’d enjoy doing the next day so you can chat about it and plan for it.
You may be amazed at the questions your kids come up with!
Author: Whitney C. Harris is a freelance writer and NYMetroParents' Manhattan and Westchester calendar editor. She lives in Sleepy Hollow, NY, with her husband, a toddler, and a dog. See More
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