10 Ways to Encourage Kids to Open Up
I’m over at BonBon Break this week, taking about 10 simple ways we can help our kids to open up:
Two of my kids talk so much the rest of the world can hardly get a word in; the other two are more thoughtful and reserved. My greatest wish as a mom is to be close to each one of my children, at every stage in their life. How can we draw our children out—even the quiet ones? How can we cultivate the kind of relationship that allows us to become their lifelong confidants, even as they enter the tricky preteen and teen years? Here are 10 simple practices that encourage kids to open up.
Some kids feel uncomfortable just sitting down and having a talk—they get tongue-tied because they feel put on the spot. They open up better when you’re doing something active: throwing a ball in the yard, coloring side by side at the table, even washing dishes together.
Listen more and talk less
If children feel like we are always going to launch into Advice Mode every time they start talking, they may shut down. Just like grown-ups, sometimes kids don’t want to be fixed, and they don’t want a solution—they just want to be heard. If a child confides a worry or problem to you, just listen, and listen thoroughly. Ask questions like . . .
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Elizabeth works from home as a writer, editor, diaper changer, baby snuggler, laundry slayer, not-so-gourmet chef, kid chauffeur, floor mopper, dog groomer, and tantrum tamer. She is always tired, but it's mostly the good kind.