Sometimes, the most important thing I can do for my child is talk to her. Conversation is such a powerful educational tool. It gives us the power to:
- Create emotional connections
- Tell and rephrase stories
- Engage in dialogue exchange
- Build ideas
- Enhance vocabulary, and
- Strengthen social skills.
I know that as parents and educators we often look for “busy-activities”. Things we can give our kids and have them do independently, while we tend to whatever it is we need to tend to. However, we should also invest in conversations in a habitual way. Our kids and students need to know that they have our supportive ear, our care and concern and most importantly an open channel to express themselves. So, to help you along I’ve listed 3 of the best conversation starters my daughter and I use. She’s grown to love this so much, that she actually started to request having a chat together.
I love interviewing my daughter! I know that I observe her all day, and as a mom I know all of her favorite things. But, sometimes she surprises me with her answers. I ask her what her favorites are in detail: her favorite breakfast item, favorite show, book, shape, number and more. Of course, the educator in me probes and asks her to justify her preferences. It’s such a fun conversation. She often asks the questions right back to me, which is a great time to model a detailed answer.
This basically means that I choose a topic and ask my child to list all the things that come to mind. For example, we once spent 15 minutes talking about all the different things we sit on. From chairs, to strollers, to benches, to carseats. Her face was so precious searching for answers. We talked about when and why we sit on these things. We also talked about why we don’t sit in certain places as well. This might seem so simplistic but it’s a great way for me to see her logic come alive. It also strengthens her ability to make connections to the real world around her. Our conversation eventually spun off to, why chairs have four legs… :).
My daughter is only 3, so she’s still learning things about our family. We talk about who are extended family is. We list her cousins (and there are a lot of them!). It’s priceless to see her discovering new things about who she is and where she comes from, and also about who her parents are.
What are your favorite things to discuss with your kids?