Nanny 911: Get Your Kids Talking
We've talked about how you can be a better listener to your children. So now that you're listening, let's get your kid talking! Life can be so hectic, and it's so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day and what needs to get done. And sometimes parents end up talking AT their children, "Do this, don't do that," rather than TO them. But if you want to have kids who give you more than just one-word answers and grunts, then you need to learn the art of conversation with your family. We're talking about connecting here! Your challenge: Get your kids talking
Here are the Nannies' tips to encourage your kid to talk to you:
- Ask leading questions. Instead of the vague and overly general, "How was your day," be more specific, like, "What did you have for lunch?" "Which book did you read at story time?" "Who won the basketball game?" or "What made you laugh today?" If your child is younger, give him the words to help him along. The idea is to keep the conversation going.
- Give equal time. If you have two or more children, make sure that each child has their own time to talk. This teaches kids not only to talk, but also how to listen. This is especially effective when you make meal time talk time. In fact, you might even consider setting up a House Rule about table conversation.
- Mix it up. If your kid can start to predict what you're going to ask before you even ask it, then she's more likely to be dismissive, like, "Whatever, mom." So look for new ways to ask questions. And for multiple kids, don't always start off by talking to the oldest first and work your way down.
- Make 'em laugh! Whenever possible, use humor! Life's too short to be serious! Not only do funny faces and goofy gestures work with babies and toddlers, but older kids love a good joke too. When in doubt, throw out a corny knock-knock joke. That way they'll at least have to answer!
So to repeat: Get your kids talking. Ask them leading questions. Don't give younger kids too many choices. Give your children equal talk time. Mix up the conversation, with humor whenever possible!
Happy Talking! And my question to you is: What did your child talk to you about? What questions did you ask to keep the conversation going? Share your stories in the comments below.
Be sure to check in with your mommy allies on the Child Behavior Message Board. Check out these other challenges:
- Challenge 1: Plan Ahead to Avoid Tantrums
- Challenge 2: Stop Whining & Screaming
- Challenge 3: Say No to Saying No
- Challenge 4: Get Your Kids to Clean Up
- Challenge 5: Reward Good Behavior
- Challenge 6: Establish House Rules
- Challenge 7: Work on Your Most Challenging Challenge
- Challenge 8: Take a Mommy or Daddy Time-Out
- Challenge 9: Give Your Kid Compliments
- Challenge 10: Acknowledge Mistakes and Move On
- Challenge 11: Say Please and Thank You
- Challenge 12: Work on This Week's Most Challenging Challenge
- Challenge 13: Pick Your Battles
- Challenge 14: Be a Better Listener
- Challenge 16: Keep Your Cool
- Challenge 17: Use a Timer
- Challenge 18: Give Effective Time Outs