How to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk.

That is the title of one of my favorite books on parenting. There is a regular version for kids and then an updated version came out years later for teens. I have read them both and they are fantastic. Here are some of my best tips for getting your kids to talk. I am not sure where I read about them or heard about them.

Best, Worst, and "'learn today"

At dinner, we go around the table and each person tells their "best" and "worst" thing that happened that day and also 1 thing that they learned. I love this because it forces even the shy ones to talk. You would be amazed at the things you will learn with just this one little thing. Very often, they won't have a "worst" to share. That is fine. But they have to thin of a "best" and don't let them try to tell you they didn't learn anything that day. It is absolutely impossible NOT to learn something each day. Even if it is just that someone at school was sick or that they like sweet potatoes. that is something they learned!

Most of the time, I follow up on the "worsts" in private after dinner to see if it is something they want to talk about in more detail with me. It was through this little game that I have learned countless tidbits about my kiddos including bullies on the elementary school bus, an overbearing teacher, and a significant feeling of inadequacy that one the Argyle offspring was struggling with. We were able to nip all of them in the bud with a little dose of mom intervention. :O) I have even learned alot about my hubbys work and stresses he is dealing with.

"Would you rather...?"

You think of scenarios and ask them of the whole family and go around the dinner table answering one at a time.


Would you rather be the smartest person in your class or the prettiest?

Would you rather kiss a frog or eat a squid?

Would you rather have a wart on your face or chronic bad breath?

Weird, I know. But kids love it. Especially elementary age kids.

Table Talk
It is called "Table Talk". I made them EONS ago for all my YW for a lesson about improving family relations. Each little strip of paper has a question on it that you can ask of your family at dinner time.

For instance,

"If you had a million dollars given to you but you had to do something for someone else with it, how would you spend it?"


"Name an invention that you are most thankful for and why".


"What is your favorite thing about yourself and why?"


"What is something you can do better than your parents?"

Anyway, those are some tricks of the trade I use here that seem to work pretty well.

Give 'em a try.


Kim said…
I still have one of those jars!!!

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