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  • Writer's pictureLeah Soldner


Talking to, and with your child has multiple benefits for their speech and language development. Often however, it can be hard to get your child to open up and communicate.

You pick your child up from school and ask them "What did you do today honey?" If you're lucky you'll get an answer but usually, the replies are monosyllabic.

"How was your day? will elicit replies like #fine or #ok. Ask "What did you learn/do today?"and you'll probably hear the answer #nothing or #idontknow. Frustrating, right? We know, and we've got some ways to help.

First of all, it's important to remember that a child's mind, and especially a young child, tends to focus on what just happened, not what happened several hours before. They recall their days in memory blocks. So if you're asking them open ended questions, you usually won't get a clear or very accurate response because they really don't remember, or can't remember in the moment.

There are ways to remedy that, and those are:

1. Don't be pushy. Some children are chatty and will talk to you for hours. Others are introverts and need time to unwind after a a long day.

2. Be Engaged. Children are very perceptive and can easily pick up on the fact that mom or dad is #busy, occupied or not really listening. Make sure if you're talking to your child that you remain present for the conversation.

3. Be Interesting. Talking is a two-way street so talk to your child about your day too. Tell them what happened at work, what their siblings were up to that day, etc.

Here are some conversation starters that will help you and your child start communicating more effectively.

1. What was your favorite part of the day?

2. Who were you kind to today?

3. Who's your favorite teacher at school?

4. Did you say goodbye to (name friend) before we left today?

5. What was the most exciting thing you did this morning/afternoon?

6. If you could travel anywhere you wanted, where would you want to go?

7. What made you smile today?

8. If you could bring any toy to school, what would it be and why?

9. What are you proud of?

10: What are you looking forward to doing this (evening/weekend)?

A final key point to remember: While we all want our children to be polite in public verbally, one of the worst things you can do is try and force them to talk to someone when they're not ready. Trying to force a child to talk if they're shy or not ready can have the opposite results you may have been hoping for.

Remember, children learn by watching how #you communicate with others. If you want them to open up, be open yourself. Show them that you're there, you care and you really want to talk with and listen to them.

Happy Talk time!

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