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© Gail Underwood Parker

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Parenting Tips: Get the Kids Talking

Do you ever feel like extracting teeth would be easier than getting your kids to talk other than arguin?  Do your dinner times conversations feel like they alternate between mini-interrogations and that your children withhold information with a skill spies would envy?

Shake it up a bit. Pick up any of the dozen or so versions of:

KidChat : Questions to Fuel Young Minds and Mouths
by Bret Nicholaus and Paul Lowrie
Pub: Questmarc Publishing
ISBN 0-9634251-6-1

I have used the 2001 edition [shown here] for years both at home and at school for writing prompts for my middle school students.  There are holiday versions, KidChat Extreme. etc. etc.  Each book has new and different questions to start a conversational ball rolling.  Some are silly, some thought-provoking, some teaching opportunities, and more, but all are safe and entertaining for kids roughly 7-13 [though I have used it for older also].

Great for imagination, discussion, and just plain conversation, I have found the book a life saver on long car rides, and even when a sleepover starts to lag a bit or needs a bit of calming down. Try some--

A Few Examples:
1. If snow could fall in any flavor, what flavor would you choose?
2. If you could be famous for anything at all, what would you want to be famous for?
3. If you could get out of school for a week but instead had to spend those five days helping an adult at their job, whose job would you want to help out with for that week?
4. If you were a king or queen, what is the first rule you would set for the people of your kingdom?
5. If you could ask the president of the United States [or your state governor] one question, knowing that you would get an honest answer, what question would you ask?
6. If you could be shrunk down to one inch tall for just one day, what do you think would be the most exciting place to explore? 

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