Small Talk: How to Get Your Kid to Chat About Her Day

Sometimes you get "good," or "fine," or the conversation killer: "I don't remember" when you ask your child about her day. Take comfort in the fact that she's not giving you the cold shoulder on purpose. But if you know why your child clams up and if you have some tactics to help her organize her thoughts, you'll be well on your way to getting the need-to-know scoop.

Conversation Stopper: Information Overload

A million things, great and small, have happened since your son got on the school bus, so when you ask "What happened today?" he may be overwhelmed. Should he tell you about the fire drill? The weird smell in the lunchroom? How he scored 100 on the spelling test? "He doesn't know what kind of information you want, so he truly draws a blank," says Adam Cox, PhD, author of Boys of Few Words: Raising Our Sons to Communicate and Connect.

Talking Points: By asking specific questions like, "Who did you play with at recess?" or "Who did you sit next to at lunch?" you'll begin teaching your child how to scroll back in time and make stories out of his experiences, explains Dawn Huebner, PhD, psychologist and author of the What-to-Do Guides for Kids series. You'll also be giving him a better idea of the kind of things you're interested in knowing. If you want lively answers, ask fun questions: Best/Worst or Coolest/Most Uncool thing that happened is engaging, and it provides another way to help kids share the day's events.

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