Has it ever happened that you decided to have a conversation with your little one and it did not go as planned? You wanted to ask a set of questions, follow it up with some playful banter, and end the day with the title of ‘favourite parent.’ It was all worked out in your head and nothing could go wrong, right?
Well, as it turns out your child decided to give one-word answers to all your questions, and the conversation is now over in just 30 seconds. Never has the generation gap stared in your face so hard. Your little munchkin may be a product of your own seed but he isn’t making you feel like it right now.
Incidents like these are pretty common and a reminder that communication with children isn’t as easy as it seems. Children take some time to open even if it is to parents. However, one failed attempt should not dishearten you.
It’s all about having the right conversation starter to create deeper communication that will help you understand your child’s interests.
Do remember, no conversation starter will work if it isn’t backed by genuine interest and curiosity. You need to take interest in his favourite TV show, book or toy that he loves to play with.
You also need to be aware of your surroundings before striking a conversation. For instance, a playground may not be the most ideal place to have a conversation. But the drive up to the playground can give you enough time to engage with your kid.
To give you a headstart at the right conversation starters, here are different kid-friendly topics that will help you get a step closer to your child.
Kid-friendly Topics For Conversations About School
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Do you take interest in your child’s academics? Want to know how their day was at school? You will need to take a step back and jog down the memory lane with stories from your own school days. It helps children to identify with adults if they put themselves in similar situations.
You could tell your child about the best moments during your school time. Tell them about your favourite teacher, subjects, or what made it a happy place for you. It’s a great way for you to level up with your child and break down the walls that otherwise limit your conversations.
Children will start seeing you as an adult who was also once a child and can empathise with what’s going on in their lives.
You can always ask questions like:
What did you do at school today?
What do you like about your teacher?
Who is your best friend at school?
Who makes you smile the most at school?
What upsets you the most at school?
How was lunch? Did you enjoy your meal?
What did you play during recess?
Did anything make you sad today?
Kid-friendly Topics Based on Interests
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Observation is key to understanding what your kid does or does not like. They may have a new favourite toy or are reading a new book that’s currently taken all their attention. It will help if you join them in reading the same book so you have a common interest to talk about.
For instance, if your child is reading the Harry Potter or the Narnia series, odds are you’ve read them in your childhood. Or you can make the effort to read it now.
You can always ask about the characters they like. Or, what makes the books so special to them. Even when playing games, you can always tell them about how you played the same game. Follow it up with questions like, “What position are you playing on?”
Once the child realises that you share something in common, they will immediately carry the conversation forward.
Which is your favourite toy car?
Who is your favourite actor? Do you want to be one?
What do you like about the different movies?
Who is your favourite superhero?
Do you like superhero movies or comic books?
Which occupation do you think is the coolest?
If you could be a cartoon character, who would you be?
What do you like to spend your allowance on?
What is your favourite food?
Which is your favourite game?
Kid-friendly Topics Based On Opinion Or Belief
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Kids pick up information from all possible sources. While some help widen their knowledge base, the rest can be controversial or simply incorrect information.
The most “parent” thing to do would be to correct your child by calling them out for being wrong. However, that isn’t winning you any brownie points.
Instead, use this as an opportunity to show them different sides of the same view. Ask them how they reached that conclusion on that topic. Children often build an opinion based on what their friends say or a celebrity has shared.
You can ask about what social media sites like TikTok and Instagram have to say about the issue. Remember, you cannot make it sound like you are accusing them of doing something wrong.
Keep the conversation breezy and understand what influences your child’s mindset. Try these questions to initiate a conversation:
Who is your favourite historical figure?
What person in history do you identify yourself with?
What would you like to change about the world?
If you could talk to the whole world for just 15 seconds, what would you say?
Would you share what you learnt from an incident?
What do you like about your favourite celebrity?
Having deep and insightful conversations with your child is a long process and requires attention and time from both sides. It is also based on mutual trust and understanding and will help your kid prepare for the world ahead. It also helps build trust with adults, not just as parents but as friends as well.
Moreover, kids learn how to initiate and hold a conversation, which is great for building social skills outside of the house.