Getting our talk on

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When the kids get home from school or picked up from school, they aren’t very chatty. They aren’t ready to talk about the day yet as they are still processing everything. And I don’t push. Nothing is worse then being grilled and asked a million questions (“what’s for dinner, mom!”) when you aren’t wanting to have a conversation.

So, we let them wait until they are ready. Sometimes that means they start telling us things as the day builds on. Other times they need a little prompting at dinner time when they are typically ready to talk. It also helps when daddy gets home. For some reason, they just talk more about their day with him. Daddy can ask the exact same question and get a response when I get nothing!

Conversation starters

We tried to go beyond the basic “what did you learn today?” or “how was school?” because they didn’t elicit the responses/conversations we were looking for. And, they weren’t things that were easy to apply to the adults (yes, we try to learn everyday, but making it relatable to the kiddos isn’t always easy).

However, after some lessons at Sunday school and conversations with friends, we came up with a couple conversations initiators.

We like to call it high point/low point. And there are a few rules.

  • Everybody has to have at least one high point and one low point.
  • A high point is anything you deemed good or positive in the day that applies to you.
  • A low point is anything you deemed bad or negative or just didn’t like that applies to you (after some discussion, we added the “you” part because we weren’t interested in hearing about what “Bobby” did on the outside playground.”
  • You can have more than one high point or low point, but you have to have an equal number of both of them. (So, if you have 2 low points, you have to have 2 high points. If you have 3 high points, you have to have 3 low points to bring to the conversation.)

We’ve found that this brings out way more conversation than just the basic and typical questions. Plus, it involves everybody in the family and we all get to share about our very different days (I even help the 2 year old, E with hers!)

Then, after attending the Mom 2.0 Summit and hearing @DrRobyn during the keynote session sponsored by Dove, we added another question.

What has your beautiful body done for you?

Dr. Robyn discussed with us that we are overly emphasizing physical features and that all of all of our bodies are beautiful. We need to focus on what out body did for us and how it allowed us to achieve our goals for the day.

How do you initiate conversation in your family?


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42 Comments

  1. We have these things called ‘Table Topics’ my kids LOVE THEM and it’s a great way for them to talk to us about their thoughts & feelings.

  2. It’s great that you all sit down and chat as a family. I think that kind of bonding is so important!

  3. Conversation in our family is limited to Dora the Explorer and whether or not we have enough money to go to Disney World again. Trudy tells us to just go to the bank and get some. 😉

  4. This is a neat idea. I may have to steal this when Logan is able to talk to us. The topics are great for adults, too. I really like your additional body question…where was that when we were growing up?

  5. What a great idea for the table! We’re encouraging more and more family table time. Although Red has his hungry hat on at 5:30, so I’m learning to push dinner a little earlier!

  6. I am loving all of your ideas. At dinner we always talk about our days and one thing leads to an other between the two boys and my hubby – and before we know it, it’s 30 minutes later 🙂

  7. My girls are ready to let it out when they get in my car after school… We just started trying to do ‘family dinner’s ever few days and instead of opening up and sharing about their day.. they just open up and share how they hate what we make them eat.. But I do LOVE these ideas.

  8. Ohh! We play high/low too. I love it. I especially love when my daughter prompts it by asking me first. It also really makes you think about your day – remembering all the little details. What a great tradition to start 🙂

  9. My kids pick and choose – sometimes they talk my ear off on drive home from school and other times they prefer to chat my ear off at dinner time. My kids and I talk all the time so really I don’t have to prep or ask any specific questions or do any tricks, they usually share details with me without any of that.

  10. We like to make jokes at the dinner table. A good banter among the family members always makes dinnertime more fun. I like your tips too!

  11. I love this. It’s so true that they talk when they’re ready. My son is in no mood to go over his day when I pick him up from school. He slowly gets around to it as the evening wears on. I like the idea of asking for a hi and low point of every day. Great conversation starters.

  12. Every day we ask the kids what their favorite part of the day was and then have them explain it to us. They can also tell us what their least fav part is and tell us why too. It’s great to give them a platform to express their feelings.

  13. When I was younger, my family did “Best and Worst”. My mom would start off by asking, “best and worst, who goes first?” Each family member would take turns talking about the challenges they faced during the day and the triumphs! Now that I think about this- I think it would be a good tradition to start at our dinner table!

  14. I’m going to remember this post when my daughter gets older. Those are really great tips for getting the conversation going.

  15. This is such a smart idea. I like the idea of balancing out the positive and negative.

  16. I love this! We have a similar thing – called “Good News” and “Not So Good News”. I’ve never had to institute the ‘equal number of both’ rule since my kids usually have more good news, but I’ll have to remember that for later when their days get more trying. Thanks so much for sharing. 🙂

  17. My kiddos are pretty small yet, but always try to talk about our days and what we have done. I love the idea of talking about what our bodies did for us. I have a love/hate relationship with my body so this would be great for me.

  18. My kids are younger and all they want to do is talk. I am sure that one day I will have to start to pry things out of them.

  19. I really like the high point/low point conversation starter, especially that there has to be an equal amount of both 🙂 It’s also nice that you don’t push your kids until they’re ready to talk. I think that makes the conversation more easy and truthful if it comes at their own pace 🙂

  20. I love the high/low point idea! I’m going to try this concept with my own family.

  21. Never thought about children decompressing. Well, that would explain a lot! LOL! But I always ask my children how was their day. If they say good, they know to explain how it was good. I don’t do one word answers. Great tips though. Will have to incorporate! Thanks for sharing!

  22. I remember that when my kids were younger they were a lot chattier on the way home from school. They are 17 and 12 now and they usually aren’t so chatty. My daughter will come back later and tell me stuff, my son really doesn’t say much about school. I usually get some chatter when watching TV with him. thanks for the great ideas to get them talking

    1. We all always manage to come up with something….it usually is something quite trivial. It just makes us really think back on our day. Sometimes it’s something as silly as “my apple had a brown spot at lunch today.”

  23. Talking side by side in the car is less intimidating for some since they don’t have to maintain eye to eye contact, so it’s good for tough topics.

    1. Totally makes sense. I always have to remind myself that the whole “look at my eyes thing” isn’t good for most kids and intimidates them.

  24. Dinner time is a definite for us. We catch up on our days at work and school.

  25. mine took me walking for an hour. It wasn’t the most brisk walk because i was talking to a friend but it was moving

  26. We call the high and low part of our day peaks and pits. My son has Autism so having prompts at dinner have really helped with him being able to start conversations.

  27. I love the high point and low point so they don’t always say a negative. Great tips.

  28. We used to do a similar thing at dinner and it was always so interesting to hear the goods and bads in a day. I’m all for lots of conversation at dinner time!

  29. I really like the high and low point. That is a great way to find out how their day REALLY went. 😀

  30. I do something very similar. Really the only difference is that we have the conversation in the car after I pick them up. They all know, when they get in the car I will want to know about the best and worst part of their day.

  31. It does sound like a great way to generate conversation. You girls go, getting your talk on! 🙂

  32. The high point/low point idea is fantastic! This is a really great post, thanks for all the tips!

  33. I think we have to opposite problem. The kids come bursting in through the door and don’t STOP talking. It takes me FOREVER to try and get them to sit down and start their homework. And then at the dinner table they are STILL talking about their day. They talk so much their food gets cold.
    But they weren’t always like this. I think when they were younger it was harder for them to express every part of their day. Now they express it and then some. 😉

  34. These are such great tips. My kids are still young but sometimes it’s hard to even get them to talk about they day at preschool!

  35. I love the high/low idea. It’s so important to sit and talk together as a family.

  36. I love this hi/lo thing..
    Will have to try this with B soon 🙂

  37. I really love all these rules. I love how you get your talk on.

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