Sometimes getting children to talk about their day can seem impossible. When I pick the boys up from school I always ask them how their day was and most times I get the same rotation of responses
I can’t remember
It was fine
They literally walked out of the building minutes earlier yet they have nothing to tell me about their day. Don’t get me wrong, some days they are full of tales but on the whole they give very little away.
I’ve always wanted to have a relationship with my boys where they will feel they can tell me anything growing up, even if I don’t want to hear it I would rather know they can come to me with an issues, a question, or a confession, then think they are suffering in silence. We are a team and we will tackle everything as a family but in order to do that they need to talk.
A couple of years ago I was working with survivors of domestic violence and a staff member introduced me to a technique that she used with clients that seemed to get them talking so I adapted it and have used it as a game with the boys for the last 12 months, maybe even longer. At first it was like pulling teeth but after a while t hey got used to our tea time game and now they ask to play it and even want to get the grandparents and other guests involved.
So if you want to encourage your little wants to talk to you about their day, maybe because you have concerns or maybe just because you actually want to know what they get up to for the 6 or so hours they are in some one else’s care then why not try good bits, yucky bits.
Good bits, yucky bits.
- Find somewhere you can regularly get together to play the game so it becomes habit. We always play it around the dining table during our evening meal.
- Each family member takes turns telling the rest of the family one good bit about their day and one yucky bit about their day. These two items can be anything from playing with a good game with a friend to passing a test and the same goes for the yucky bits, maybe they don’t like the tea you made or maybe they fell out with a friend, anything goes. The important thing to remember is this is their space to tell you what they want to tell you.
- You can discuss a particular good bit or yucky bit. Ask them why it was so good/so bad, what could they change or develop on.
The concept really is that simple and for most families it will just give you the opportunity to have an insight into your children’s days and them in yours. You will be surprised how interested the children are in knowing that you had a boring meeting or met an interesting client. However, for some families this game can be massive. It can encourage children to reflect on their day and their own behaviour, it can help children who suffer with anxiety start to open up about some of their worries without fear of being judged or ridiculed and in some extreme cases, like where I used at work, it can give children the opportunity to disclose information relating to bullying or even abuse they have witnessed or been the victim of.
This game is fun and light hearted in our house and the children have told their friends about it on many occasions, they have even asked us to play in in restaurants which has resulted in a few funny looks but I really don’t care because if it encourages them to talk to us and share their lives with us then for me that’s a good enough reason to play it.
What other techniques do you use to get your children to open up?