Once your child starts secondary school you miss out on so many times of the day when you would naturally chat together.
Gone are the walks or drives to school, where you could easily get your child to talk about what was coming up in their day or share tales of how their day had gone.
Even when you do get time together it can be hard to get your child to talk. Questions such as ‘How was your day?’ can be met with a shrug and a mumbled response of ‘Fine’, which gives very little away.
It’s easy for parents of tweens to feel a bit disconnected.
Sometimes though, if you ask the right questions at the right times it can open up in a much more detailed conversation.
You can end up finding out a lot more about how your tween is feeling and what is going on in their head if you can get your child to talk.
Pick your moments
Tweens lead busy lives, spending more and more of their time away from the family, either out with friends or tucked away in their room.
If you try to get your child to talk when they are busy catching up with homework or friends or when they’re knackered and need time to unwind, then you’re unlikely to get a lot out of them.
Pick times when you both have a little more time to chat. Make the most of the times when you give your child a lift in the car and use these try to get them to talk a bit.
Go on walks together, as conversation more easily flows when you walk together and you don’t always have to make direct eye contact.
Mealtimes and quiet times before bed are a great time to talk to your child too.
Be ready to really listen
When you talk to your child then show that you are really present and ready to listen.
That means putting down distractions like phones, work and switching off the TV and really giving your whole focus to your child.
Really listen to your child’s answers and be curious about what they say. Tweens can tell when we’re faking interest from a mile off.
So, if they say something funny or interesting, then follow it up by asking them to explain more or asking them how they came to think of that point.
Ask open-ended questions to really get your child to talk
Questions that require a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer, or can even be met with a shrug, lead to very short conversations, especially if your child is not in the mood to talk.
A fun question that is open-ended and requires a bit of thought and imagination can be a much better way to spark conversation and to get your tween to open up.