In order for you to be successful in your Christian parenting journey, it helps if you and your kids have a solid relationship. This means, amongst other things, that you actively listen to what your kids need or want to tell you. Regularly giving them that time, energy and respect often means they will be more likely to listen to you when you have something important to share with them.
Unfortunately, many parents struggle with getting their kids to talk to them. At times you may feel as if the only word in your child’s vocabulary is “fine”. You’ve tried everything, but nothing seems to get the conversation flowing.
Fortunately, the holidays provide the opportunity to do a lot of things with your kids. Some of these activities encourage conversation as you complete them. Think of your reluctant talker as a little bird you want to eat out of your hand. What do you do? You don’t pepper it with a lot of questions and noise. Rather you sit there quietly waiting for the bird to feel safe, relax and move towards you.
Your children will probably respond in a similar fashion. Ask them to participate in one of the activities below. These are things that allow you to talk easily while completing them. They also last long enough to give your child time to relax and begin opening up a bit. There are a lot of things you can do, but these are some of our favorites.
- Cooking. Whether it’s a meal or holiday cookies, cooking takes time. Plus you have even more opportunities to talk when it’s done as you enjoy eating it!
- Crafting. Need some Christmas decorations? Why not get some supplies or a kit and work together to make them?
- Decoration walks. Be safe, but take an evening stroll through your neighborhood to look at all of the holiday decorations. The longer the walk, the more time you will have to talk.
- Wrapping presents. If you have a lot of gifts to wrap, have your kids help you wrap the ones that aren’t for them. There’s always something upbeat about wrapping gifts, even if they don’t look like they belong in a magazine spread when you’re finished.
- Decorating the tree. If your ornaments are from family adventures, this has the added benefit of sharing fun memories as you decorate. Those warm feelings can encourage your reluctant talker to open up about some current things.
- Planning surprises. What if you asked your reluctant talker to help you plan and execute a special surprise for the rest of the family? Working together on a fun secret project can make your child feel closer to you and encourage talking about other things, too.
When your children start talking, don’t interrupt. Let them talk and talk if they want to do so. There may be a lot of surface stuff that is shared before they tell you deeper things. Don’t overreact to what is said. Listen actively. Ask thoughtful questions. Choose wisely when and how to share any thoughts you may have on the topic. If initial conversations go well, you will hopefully find you have even more conversations with your kids in the future. And that can give you the opportunities you want to give your kids the spiritual coaching they need.