Getting Kids to Talk: Advice for Parents

Getting your kids to open up and want to talk to you about their day is a skill some parents seem to effortlessly put into use. It’s also a skill that other parents (my husband and I) can’t seem to master. The worst part; our kids are two and five. Seriously, we sit down after school and we cannot get our kindergartener to talk about her day. She doesn’t want to tell us. She can’t remember. She didn’t learn anything, do anything, enjoy anything, talk to anyone or see anyone at school today.

This is not okay with us. We like to talk about our days. We like to know what’s going on with our kids (without needing a parent-teacher conference) and we like them to know what’s going on with us. How do we combat this bump in the proverbial communication road? Well, we’re working on it, but we seem to be making headway. We took advice, made up some rules and now I want to share with other parents whose kids develop amnesia everyday at 3:30 pm.

Ask Anyway

Even though our five-year-old often tells us she “can’t remember” what she did at school or a play date or a sleepover at Grandma and Grandpa’s house, we ask anyway. We ask as soon as we get her in the car at the end of the day. Sometimes she wants to tell us all about her adventures and other times she wants us to believe she’s deaf and mute. We ask; persistence pays.

Tell Them About Your Day

Whether our daughter is an open book or an extremely premature teen with an attitude, we tell her about our days. If she’s not willing to talk about her day, we try to respect her mood and instead we tell her about what we did that day. We think it helps to show her that the lines of communication are always open and that sharing is just what we do.

We Wait it Out

At the end of the day, our daughter is not one for keeping secrets. Even if she doesn’t answer our questions when we want her to answer them, she will tell us about her day at some point before she goes to bed. Fortunately, she’s a great student with a great attitude (and amazing behavior at school and with other people…at home? Not quite so much, but we’ll work on that another day.) so we don’t worry that she’s in trouble.

If she doesn’t seem to open up after a few hours, we will continue to ask about her day in a different manner. Instead of, “How was school today?” we will ask, “Did you play on the slide on the playground today?” We’ll ask her different questions that get her talking. She will eventually talk, so we do get to hear about her day, but sometimes it takes a little patience on our part.


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