The other day during breakfast my daughter turned to me and said, " I told my friends how you read all of the ingredients at the store." I was expecting her to continue with something negative or tell me how it was embarrassing (she is at that age), but then she said, "We have this game where we try to read all of the ingredients on people's food during lunch and you can't eat it until you can pronounce it." I smiled so big that morning. Children really do listen and they absorb so much. I am rubbing off on my kid and I like it!
But she is of THAT age. The age where many times I am considered just plain uncool and out of touch...but she always surprises me. Today she forgot her glasses and I drove back down to the school and with my head hung low, I crepted into the classroom so as not to draw too much attention. I did not want to embarrass her, but she grabbed my arm and hugged me in front of the whole class. She does love her mama!!! [insert my huge smile here]
But conversations are not always easy to start, especially when "It was ok" is the only reply that normally comes after "How was school?"
"What did you learn today?"
"Nothing." You know how it goes.
Most importantly, parents need to be approachable. Conversation starters are great to get us giggling and keep our mouths moving. Like my daughter's lunch game, we play a dinner game sometimes where we put a jar on the table filled with little slips of paper, each asking a question. "Would you rather be able to fly or be invisible for a day and why?" or "If you saw someone being bullied at school, what would you do?" It can be anything. Parents and kids get to make up the questions. Not feeling very creative or used up all the questions you can think of? A handy set of fun questions can be bought from Table Topics
Everyone loves a story so filling dinners with them is also a great way to communicate. My mom tells my daughters all sorts of memories from her childhood. They eat up every word and then come home with: "One time when grandma was five..." It is priceless and something I believe too many of us are loosing a grasp on...where we come from is who we are. Sharing stories of our youth is good for our children, but I find it fun to relive, too. And kids love story telling as well. When they have run out of their own stories, Tell Talemakes a great story prompt game.