Every parent knows that getting kids to talk is one of the most challenging parts of raising them. You can’t be there every moment of every day, and encouraging them to share their experiences and feelings is a critical component to helping them develop and grow as human beings.
So it can be more than frustrating when they start stymieing you with one-word answers. You’re just trying to help, after all, and you can’t do that when all the information they’re willing to give you about their day is that it was “fine” or “OK.”
Kristen Bell knows how you feel. The brilliant comedic actress is also a mother of two, and she’s gone through all the same struggles as any other parent. But it sounds like she’s developed a trick to convincing her little ones to open up more than ever about what’s going on in their lives.
This might not be the secret key that unlocks every child’s lips, but hey, it’s worth a shot.
Kristen's not shy about sharing the truth about her parenting journey.
Wildly successful or otherwise, she and her husband Dax have all the same issues the rest of us do, including how best to raise their children.
Their two daughters, Lincoln and Delta, are notoriously absent on social media per their parents’ discretion, but that doesn’t mean the adorable little girls aren’t a common topic of conversation.
Even though they sometimes leave mom looking like this!
It sounds like the little girls weren't always the biggest sharers.
Kristen says that the two girls recently started attending a year-round preschool — meaning they’re not always under mom’s watchful eye anymore.
Even the most amazing parents ever (see: above) can’t control every aspect of their children’s lives. All they can do is try to understand and push them in the right direction.
Which is why communication is so important.
“Kids don’t naturally want to tell you about their day because they want to live in the moment,” explains Kristen. “They don’t want to live in the past.”
So Dax and Kristen came up with a simple solution: “Everything I ask my children to do in life, I explain to them why.”
So far, that simple trick has worked wonders!
She broke it down to the little girls in this way: “Do you know why we ask you about your day? I ask you about your day and I ask Daddy about his day because we’ve been separated for a few hours and I wonder how you’re feeling… if you experienced something today you want to talk about.”
“Also because I’m interested and it gives us a chance to reconnect to each other,” Kristen continued. “That’s why people ask one another about their day. It also makes the other person that’s being asked feel very good and valued. It’s a nice way to show you love someone.”
Not only has this gotten their children to open up more, it’s made them more curious and engaging as well. “My kids don’t brush me off. They say, ‘It was really good, how was your day?’ They actually ask me how my day was.”
Sometimes it’s the simplest little tricks that make all the difference!
A few parents have come out on Twitter to echo Kristen's strategy.
However you choose to deal with it, you first have to know that there is a problem, and that’s not going to happen if the kids aren’t sharing.
And as this parent points out, reciprocating the openness is just as important to making everyone comfortable.