Family time is so important these days. It seems hard to come by though.
With all of the technology readily available, your children might find themselves off in their own world, playing games on a tablet, texting friends or sitting in front of a television. While you set your own rules for using this technology, holding a conversation with your children is more difficult than ever before, but is still as essential. Heck sometimes as parents, we have our face stuck in the smart phone!
If you are finding it increasingly difficult to have meaningful conversations as a family, you are not alone. It feels like every family suffers from it ,if only a little bit ,so we wanted to provide creative ideas for starting up conversations in this challenging environment.
So check out these ideas for starting up meaningful dialog with members of your own family. You know them best, and some of these are sure to help recapture the nearly “lost art” of the face to face conversation 😉
Ok here goes… Dinner used to be family time. What if you make sure the television and all devices are off before dinner begins. Maybe make it a “no-device” fly zone or something. This way, conversations have an opportunity to come up organically without interruptions from the buzzing of cell phones. Asking about everyone’s day is a common conversation starter. It tends to work but don’t give up if you receive the common, one or two word answers.
Instead of accepting short answers, maybe prod a little. Ask “why” or ask them to tell you more or expand a little. Sometimes a child (or even an adult) really does want to talk more about it, they just need a little push.
Of course, don’t push TOO hard if they aren’t forthcoming with answers. Sometimes probing too much is just going to result in them shutting down completely. So you might have to be clever and mix it up.
Mix it Up a Bit
From a kiddo standpoint, every now and then kids don’t want to have a conversation about certain topics in front of everyone. If dinner time doesn’t work, perhaps your child will be more likely to open up at different times of the day.
Catching up right before, or at bedtime can be a comfortable and relaxing way to wind down. You might also want to take advantage of drive time. Maybe when you’re driving them to school or to practice? Test the waters out on different times and locations. Long trips are huge opportunities to play conversation starter games and belabor long even the most skeptical of your group will be having fun. Have you seen the small book by Gary Chapman and Ramon Presson titled 101 Conversation Starters for Families? Grab one before your next trip and see how much fun genuine conversation can be while “trapped” in the car for hours! The key may be to make a game of it.
Make a Game Out of It
Maybe at home, you can try making a game out of starting conversations. If it works, they might actually look forward to it. Try creating cards with different types of questions on each ,and put them into a container. Every night at dinner, or bedtime, your someone can take a card and discover the topic of the day. This approach would allow you to try different topics in hopes of finding something that really resonates with your child or family.
Look, family time can be hard to come by. And yes it’s sad to think we have to “make” time for it, but what choice do we have? We do what it takes to make family a priority.
Whether it’s using conversation starters at home or in the car, or taking family retreats so you can reconnect, let’s do what it takes to keep our families strong.
At Refreshing Mountain we will do our part to create a fun and safe place for family members of all ages to come and be refreshed and reconnected. Check out the book by Gary Chapman above and if you have some neat ideas for conversation starters, share them with us!