The kids are going to be home for the holiday break!
Does that statement make you cry out, “Hooray!” or does it just make you want to cry? Having the kids home disrupts your routine, and it disrupts theirs. In addition, just a couple of years ago coming home from school for an extended time (a.k.a., to quarantine) was fraught with anxiety over real-world concerns. The combo of past problems, current concerns, and ruptured routines may make for a vexing vacation. (Did you get all those alliterations? I just had some caffeine.)
An Awesome Mom’s Question
Sometimes it feels awkward to talk to my kids. They never seem to want to hang out anymore. And when I go to into their space, I can’t think of anything to say that will be interesting enough. How do I keep our school breaks from being, I don’t know, uncomfortable?
Conversation Advice for Awesome Moms
First of all, don’t allow yourself to become daunted. All you need is a little preparation. Secondly, Conversation Is Key. So…? Prepare conversation topics ahead of time.
Don’t worry about it if this parenting strategy feels artificial. It’s a technique that works for any relationship – parenting, romantic, or spousal. If you don’t know what you’re going to say, prepare what you’re going to say. Use your prep for a springboard until the authentic conversation kicks in.
Parenting Words to Live By
Remember: if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Why? Because practice makes perfect. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
There must be a dozen additional appropriate clichés you can fill in for yourself. The point is, they all are correct. So jump in with both feet. (I couldn’t resist just one more. Not my fault. It’s the caffeine.)
One of the very best venues for conversation is taking a walk together. Walking together puts you shoulder to shoulder, like you’re on the same side. Walking together minimizes head-on, confrontational-type eye contact. Walking together reduces the likelihood your kids will misinterpret your facial expression (an unfortunate, but very common occurrence with kids).
Yup, I’m a big fan of walking with your cherubs.
Introduce the concept to your tweens and teens by saying something like this:
“I need to stretch my legs. Would you come for a short walk with me?”
Pick a length of time for the walk, and set a timer to make sure you honor both of your needs.
Which now brings us back, full circle, to the question, what are you going to talk about?
10 Conversation Starters for Awesome Moms
Here are a few Conversation Starters. Go ahead. Use them on your walk. I have plenty more. 😉
- How does BFF feel about [FILL IN THE BLANK]?
- What would your favorite ideal day [week; weekend; month; season; year] look like?
- If you could have one do-over, where/how would you use it?
- What do you think would make your BFF happier/more comfortable?
- Who is the worst teacher in your school? [best; most popular; nicest; meanest]
- What is your favorite kind of teacher?
- Describe your favorite kind of day, with or without your family. [morning; afternoon; evening; weekend]
- What would you do with a million dollars? How would it change you and your outlook?
- If I had a million dollars, what do you think I should do with it?
- Can you show me how to play that game you love?
You get the idea. Nearly anything will do EXCEPT that classic Conversation Killer, “How was school?” Yikes! That one can shut down communications faster than you can spit it out!
Instead, ask about something specific:
- Best class of the day
- Funniest moment
- Favorite moment
- Most difficult moment
- Hardest thing the teachers want you to do
By being specific, your kiddos hear your conversation as you being tuned in. On top of that, if you practice your active listening skills, your kids will feel like you get them, and (most importantly) will be more likely to turn to you in times of need.
For more Conversation Starters (and Conversation Stoppers), check out How To Keep Your Daughter From Slamming the Door.
You got this, Momma!
Have fun with your kids today!
PS You can also find a lot more in-depth information on this topic in my book How To Keep Your Daughter From Slamming the Door, plus tons of novel activity ideas you can try with your kids. Have fun parenting!
About the Author
Are you overwhelmed or frustrated with your role as a parent? Deborah Ann Davis (B.S. in Science Education, M.Ed. in Supervision, and W.I.T.S Personal Trainer Certified) is a parenting coach and strategist who can help you sort things out.
Whether you’re looking to bring more positivity into your life, or you’re ready to up the strategies in your Parenting Toolkit, she’s eager to help you put happiness back into your parenting.
Deborah has decades of experience dealing with teenagers – as a mother, and as an educator. Over the years, she has helped hundreds of families, using her expertise.
Learn how to improve your mother-daughter relationship today. Every minute you delay prolongs the isolation your child feels while disconnected from you. She’s waiting for you to figure it out, so why not skip the “trial and error” parenting route?
Book your free chat with Deborah today, and sort things out together.