I’m sure you read that headline and thought, “No Way! I’m not missing out on talking to my kids. I talk with my kids all the time!!” And guess what? I believe you! But keep reading, because there’s more to talking to your kids than just answering all the “Why?” questions with “Because I said so!” (But trust me, I do that sometimes too).
As an educator, I am constantly trying to build my child’s vocabulary and engage her in meaningful conversations.
It’s all about talking to your kids and getting to know them. It’s about teaching them to be great conversationalists, too!
Give children a voice, let them be heard.
One thing I love to do, and have always done, is talk with O. I’m sure I will do the same with A as she gets older. I love to ask her questions, ones that require her to think and reflect on the day and on herself. Not only will your children be better communicators as they grow up and also have a better vocabulary, but you will know them better.
When your child is in the mood to talk, try to turn your attention to them. Put away the electronics, and spend a few minutes engaged with each other.
Dig a little deeper.
The questions I ask O range from talking about what she did that day to her weekly/monthly favorites. I try to stay away from the yes/no questions, such as, “Do you like pizza?” and “Was that fun?” when I’m really trying to have a conversation. I’m not saying don’t ever ask these questions, but if you want to provoke thoughtful responses, you have to dig a little deeper.
Some questions I use frequently include:
– What was the best part of your day?
– Tell me about that (picture you drew, park you visited, etc.).
– What is your favorite (color, toy, book, etc.)? And why?
Build vocabulary with unknown words.
I also love to include an unknown word in a question or discussion in hopes that O will ask what the unknown word means. Just the other day, I said, “Let’s go folks,” and she said, “What does folks mean?” Score one for mommy in the vocabulary department! She recently discovered the word devoured and has enjoyed using it at dessert time!
Try it, but don’t worry if your child doesn’t ask the first time what a word means. It may take several times hearing a word for a child to even wonder.
Also, start simple and make it relevant to your child. While building vocabulary is important, it won’t work if you stretch too far too soon. For example, you could say “what made you feel cheerful today?” instead of “What made you happy?” I love the feeling I get when I know a new word has been acquired, because I’ll hear her use it in another situation. If this seems challenging, you can always use an online thesaurus to build some words that you would like to use.
Most of all, just keep talking to your kids.
Answer their questions and ask them questions. Think you don’t have time? Dinner time and car rides are great opportunities to connect. Trust me, it’s worth it!
So, here’s the free printable that can spark some really fun conversations! Ask your child the “What’s Your Favorite” questions, but ask them to tell you why something is their favorite, or encourage them to expand on their answers. This is also a really great keepsake to look back on and see how your child changes from month to month, or year to year. There’s a spot for your child to draw a self-portrait and also a spot to add a photo.
Just click on the image below to grab this great printable! And if you download this awesome free printable, please comment below. Leave some love! Tell me about your experiences as you use the tips to talk with your kids!