A common problem I come across with the Mums I work with is that life is just too busy. From morning until evening, whether they work outside the home or not, there is always something to do. It often means that by the evening everyone is so exhausted that they simply grab a tray with their dinner on it and flop in front of the telly to eat.
At the same time parents tell me that their kids never talk to them and they get monosyllabic answers when they do broach a subject with them.
There are lots of things we can do, however, to create an environment in our homes that makes it easy for conversations to happen. One of these is to sit down to dinner together in the evening. We don’t always have to have deep meaningful conversations but simply sitting together once a day gives our kids the opportunity to talk to us and us to them.
Now, if you are used to sitting in front of the television eating dinner every evening I suggest that you introduce this gradually–mMaybe one or two evenings per week to begin with. When I mentioned this to a Mum one day, she said that her kids would never agree to this because they are always on their phones or games consoles.
It’s important that sitting together doesn’t seem like a chore to the kids so to begin with you could have a couple of tricks up your sleeve to make it more enjoyable. Remember the objective is to get a flow of communication going between you so it doesn’t matter what the subject is to begin with. What we want to do is get the family sitting down together so that the opportunity is there for them to talk.
Over dinner, depending on the age of the kids you could ask them one of these questions.
- What superpower would you love to have?
- What would you do if you had it?
- If you could change one thing about school what would it be and why?
- If you could spend a day with a character from TV who would it be and what would you do?
- If you could have 3 wishes granted what would they be?
To keep the conversations going you could ask them any of these questions.
- That sounds amazing, tell me more…
- That’s really interesting, is there more …..
- How do you feel when you think about that…
- Wow, and then what would happen…
- Remember to encourage them to keep talking no matter how crazy or outrageous the things they say are.
When dinner is over, tell them how much you loved hearing about all the things they talked about and ask if they will do it again.
Start off doing this once or twice a week until gradually it becomes something you do every evening.
Keep it light and fun– remembering always that the objective is to start a flow of conversation. It doesn’t matter what the subject is so experiment with some ideas of your own that you know will get your kids talking.
Ber Collins is the author of “Every Mum has Magic Kisses” a book filled with practical tips from her own journey to becoming the mum she wanted to be to her kids. She is an Energist, Modern Stress Management Trainer and Facilitator who works with individuals and groups of people who feel stressed and overwhelmed teaching them tools and techniques to help bring more peace and harmony into their lives. www.bercollins.ie To get more tips on improving communication with your kids click here www.bercollins.ie/communicationwithkids