Sometimes I just find myself a little disconnected. I try to stay hip and in the know with all the kids’ stuff, but it’s tough to keep up. So how do you meet kids where they are in order to communicate?
I found myself feeling a little lost when I finally sat down at dinner with my girls and started asking about their day. It was always the same questions: “How was your day?” “What did you do?”
I kept thinking I needed to come up with more creative questions because this just wasn’t cutting it. I would always get the same answers. “It was good.” “Didn’t do much.”
I really wanted to make the most out of the conversations I was having with my kids. But where do I start? How can I get creative? How do I pull it out of them? I wanted to know about the ups and downs of their day, so I started to really think about it. One of things that I started to do was ask very specific questions. Things like, “What did you eat for breakfast?” “Who did you sit by at lunch today?” And it worked! It’s really amazing how much better the conversations got when I asked them more targeted questions about their day.
We also have fun now playing a game at dinner called “High, Low, High.” It’s been around a long time, but it doesn’t get old. We all go around the table giving a high of our day, a low, and then end with another high. My youngest loves it so much, she now asks to play it before we even say anything.
I love that it teaches the girls to be thankful, too. We all have lows and we always will, but we all have highs, too, so we should be thankful for those. That’s why in our version of the game we always end with another high — always end on a positive note.
Another fun idea came from my friend Aaron, who is an amazing teacher with two little ones of his own. We started talking at a get-together about this very topic and he shared a pretty cool app that he had just started using. It’s called “Make Every Day Count” and is full of those conversation starter questions I was looking to use for the kids.
It’s pretty neat. You plug in your child’s age and the topic you’d like and up pops a fun question to ask. And if your kids are anything like mine, they love apps. So they think it’s cool that mom is using an app to ask questions. It’s like a game to them.
Give these ideas a try; you might just find they become family favorites. How do you start conversations at mealtimes with your kids?Tune In
As much as phones and electronic devices drive me crazy, it’s reality that they’re not going away anytime soon. Why not try to find good uses for them and have fun as a family at the same time? I asked my friend Aaron to give his take on apps, technology and kids, from a teacher and dad’s perspective. Here’s what he said:
“I think it’s important for parents to meet their kids where they are,” Jeter says. “Unfortunately, whether we like it or not, technology and social media are here to stay. As a result, I think there are many opportunities for parents to use technology — from various articles, memes or apps — addressed online to enhance more thoughtful conversations with their children offline. I often think of the quote by the renowned teacher, preacher and social reformer William Temple, who said, ‘The most influential of all educational factors is the conversation in the child’s home.’ There’s more than enough research to support this quote. Therefore, we as parents should continue to utilize and welcome all technological resources at our disposal to deepen the dialogue.”
— Aaron W. Jeter