How to Encourage a Reluctant Kid to Talk

Every kid is different, of course, but if you have a kid who’s naturally more reserved, here are a few techniques to get them to open up more.

talk-kids

My kids couldn’t be more different when it comes to sharing their problems.

My 10 year old happily shares most of his issues with us at any opportunity.

My little seven year old, however, is a different matter. She tends to keep her troubles to herself. It’s something we’re working on.

Every kid is different, of course, but if you have a kid who’s naturally more reserved, we’ve found a few techniques that have helped us get her to open up more.

Creating a quiet time to share

It’s an ongoing process, but what’s working is creating a quiet time for her to share.

At night, I’ll lie beside her as she drifts off to sleep. It’s amazing what she’ll tell me when she feels secure in her bed at night!

Asking questions

The trick with this is to avoid questions that let her give a yes or no answer, like “Did you have a good day?“. I find if I ask a question like “tell me something that happened at school today“, then she’ll share more.

Avoiding pressure to share

We’ve also learned not to pressure her to share. It’s tempting to push to get her to open up, but quite often she’ll just shut down if she feels pressured.

Creating opportunities to share with TV, movies and books

The trick is to find a show that they enjoy, and then use an episode as a springboard to talk to your child.

We just watched an episode of The Adventures of Puss in Boots (one of our kids’ best loved shows). In Season 1, Episode 13, Dulcina tries to use a wishing star to help her friends, and fails miserably. It turns out that she’s always been a help to her friends all along.

A quick-watch guide

For your little kids:

  • What to talk about: Sibling Rivalry, What to Watch: The Hive, Ep. S1E1: Babee’s Room
  • What to talk about: Responsibility, What to Watch: Veggie Tales, Ep. S1E1: Puppies & Guppies/Sorry We’re Closed Today
  • What to talk about: Following the Rules, What to Watch: Puffin Rock, Ep. S1E6: Stormy Weather/ Baba’s Adventure/ Rock Music

For your big kids:

  • What to talk about: Self-Love, What to Watch: Puss in Boots(our favourite!) S1E13: Star
  • What to talk about: Teamwork, What to Watch: Project Mc2 Ep. S1E3: Smart is the New Cool
  • What to talk about: Peer Pressure, What to Watch: Fuller House Ep. S1E6: The Legend of El Explosivo

For your teens:

  • What to talk about: Actions Have Consequences, What to Watch: The Fosters Ep. S1E1&2: Pilot & Consequently
  • What to talk about: Self-Improvement, What to Watch: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Ep. S1E4: Kimmy Goes to the Doctor!
  • What to talk about: Body Image, What to Watch: Glee Ep. S1E16: Home

 

M. Caroline Kosman is a writer and webpreneur based in beautiful British Columbia, Canada, where she spends her days wrangling two feisty but sweet kids, a tech loving husband, and a 20-year-old cat. You can find her on The Parent Spot, or on Twitter or Facebook.
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