Conversations are key to checking in on your children and their emotional wellbeing. A child who feels a connection to their parents ...

Mental Health Guest Post

By February 09, 2019

Conversations are key to checking in on your children
and their emotional wellbeing. A child who feels a
connection to their parents is more likely to feel happy.
By engaging your child and talking about the little things
in life, they are a lot more likely to open up about the
bigger things. We often hear from parents after asking
their child questions only to receive monosyllabic
answers. “My kids don’t tell me anything.” The concern
is if your child can’t or won’t tell you about their day, how
can you be sure they’ll talk to you about their feelings.

The solution is simple. Conversations make

connections. You can also use conversations to help
address key issues they might have such as a lack of
self-esteem or self-confidence. By making the time to sit
with your child and asking them really open-ended
questions, it might surprise you what they say:

Conversation starters for self-confidence include:

- Is being scared a good thing or a bad thing?
- What is the best compliment you’ve ever had?
- What are you most proud of yourself for?

Conversation starters for self-esteem include:

- What makes someone clever?
- What is your favourite subject at school?
- Do you think you need other people to tell you your
good at something to feel good about yourself?

There are no right or wrong answers, these are just

conversation starters which will give you the chance to
talk and reassure. Helping children to identify their
strengths and talk about their fears, whilst reinforcing
their self-belief is always a positive step.
The benefits of encouraging your kids to talk are
far-reaching. Through improved conversations, they can
be building skills such as:
- Imagination
- Positivity
- Empathy
- Mental strength
- Ethical thinking
- Cognitive thinking
- Confidence
- Ambition

It sounds straightforward, but if you don’t know where to

start here are just three simple steps to follow:

1. Set time to talk. A teacher once said to me, there’s

no such thing as not having time, you can always
make time. I soon realised he was right and it’s
stood me in a good sense ever since. Carving out
time at key moments rather than trying to create
extra time is a pragmatic approach for the time
poor. These occasions could include:

- Long car rides/trips

- At the dinner table
- On the school run

2. Listen. Kids will register your body language and

involvement. They won’t miss a thing being especially
quick to disengage if they think you’re not paying
attention. So listen. Actively. Ask questions and extend
their stream of thought. Try not to correct them,
whatever you’re talking about, whatever they say, if their
train of thought is provocative help steer them in the
right direction.

3. Be prepared. Think about what you want to talk about.

If it helps, use a game or prompts such as our
Conversation Cards for kids. These can give you a fun, engaging way that enables your child to own the conversation in a structured way. We’ll finish with two words: Start Today.

Sarah is co-founder at Together Equal, specialising in producing conversation cards

which raise money for charities while having a social impact by creating conversations
which challenge social stereotypes. Follow Sarah and Together Equal @betogetherequal

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