Like every other mom I always want my kids to feel comfortable telling me anything they want. But being a kid can be intimidating by its self, not to mention all the other variables that come into play: mom/dad’s mood, audience, location, fear just to name a few.
So we started playing a little game to keep the lines of communication open and me (mom) a safe place. Every time she has a play date and/or goes to a friend/family members house as soon as we are in the car I always ask her:
What was your FAVORITE thing that happened?
This gets her thinking about all the different elements of the time she spent away. It puts her in a happy, open mood and ready to share excitedly. It sets the tone as a safe place who is eager to listen. After we have chatted about the BEST part of her day I’ll ask:
What was the WORST part of your time away?
At this point she has more than likely already mentally identified good from bad memories. Even if it’s something simple like, “I wanted to play restaurant and no one else did!” It’s acknowledged and gives me an opportunity to coach and role paly through the situation with her. It also opens up the conversation and makes a safe place to share if there is any sort of bullying, physical or verbal abuse going on.
When this becomes a regular part of your car rides from school, the baby sitters, sporting events etc. it will build a foundation of healthy communication between you and your child. I am always surprised to hear what she says is the best and worst part of her day–it’s normally not what I would have guessed! Spending just a few minutes asking these questions may seam pointless but they build a road of communication for your child. This is another tool we can give our children to help them navigate through life. How great to have this dialog established with a house full of teenagers!? Help yourself later hut starting this exercise now.
These two simple questions could make all the difference in your relationship now and in the future. Take the time to be intentional. Be proactive. Be involved. Be the parent (neighbor, grandparent, teacher, etc,) who asks because they care. What little effort it takes to do this could mean the WORLD to a kid you love.
Below are some more conversation starters to help you be intentional with the kids in your life.