NDSU Extension - Sargent County

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Having Great Conversations with Our Kids

Having Great Conversations with Our KidsGood communication between parents and children happens when parents take the time to really listen to children’s feelings and ideas.

A conversation is a two-way street —back and forth between parent and child.  So if one person (the parent, for example), is doing all the talking or just asking lots of questions, it doesn’t really count as a true conversation.

When we start by having true back-and-forth exchanges with our kids when they are babies, toddlers, and preschoolers, it’s more likely that they will want to talk with use when they become preteens, teenagers, young adults, and beyond.

Here are a few suggestions for how to have true conversations with your kids: 

-  Encourage talking. Some children need to be invited to start talking. You might begin with, “Tell me about one of the good things about your day at school.” Children will share their ideas and feelings when they are convinced that others think they are important.

-  Ask children the kinds of questions that will require more than “yes” or “no” or right answers. Simple questions such as, “What is the dog’s name?” are a dead end to a conversation. Questions such as, “What do you like about the dog?” or “What other dogs have you played with?” Keep the conversation rolling along.

-  If your child says, “I like to watch TV,” then answer by using some of the same words your child has used. “What are some of the TV shows you like best?”  If she says, “Arthur,” your response could be, “What happens on Arthur that you like seeing?” The trick is to avoid asking too many questions. 

-  Provide some of your own information such as, “I really like Arthur’s sister, D.W., because sometimes she tries to be like Arthur.”

-  Be a good role model by waiting your turn to speak, and by listening with interest, attention and patience. 

The greatest audience children can have is an adult who is important to them being interested in them.

Source:  Just in Time Parenting, https://jitp.info/newsletter/months-49-50/

Photo Source: https://pixabay.com/en/father-daughter-listen-talking-2307205/ (downloaded 9/5/18)

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