How to Get Your Kids to Open Up

I remember when the boys were little and they would say absolutely anything that came to mind.

ANYTHING. There was NO filter.

And you know what? I embraced it. Of course, if something came out that was inappropriate I’d take them aside and explain why they shouldn’t say what they did. It happened here and there, hence the well-known phrase

Out of the mouth of babes.

As our children get older, they understand and learn about the difference between right and wrong. They learn from what we teach them, from school, and less attractively – from social media and their friends.

Toddlers and Elementary Ages

It is a give-in that we cannot shelter them as much as we’d like from what they learn from the latter two, but we can proffer up our ears should they need someone to talk to.

When the boys were little and I noticed either frustration or sadness (and of course happiness), I wouldn’t jump up and exclaim, “Oh no! What’s wrong?!” I felt that would make them more hypersensitive to whatever did occur to make them fret and not be willing to talk about it.

Instead, I’d sidle up next to them, and in a normal tone just ask what’s up. Maybe ask how they are feeling. More times than less they would take a deep breath and explain what happened, opening up the conversation and allowing me in to help.

As They Get Older

As our kids get older, they start to confide and rely on their friends and us parents may not be “as cool” as we once were.

I’ve learned that they can be somewhat guarded as to what they divulge about their day and how things are with their friends (and girlfriends), so I tread lightly.

Introduce QT

Dinnertime is quality family time in our household. With sports ramping up big time, we can’t eat together as much as we’d like to, so when we do we take full advantage of it.

It got a little old when we’d ask them, “What did you do today in school?” and the response was, “Nothing”.

Really? You just sat in your class(es) and stared at the wall? So, we started asking the kids to tell us 5 things about their day.

Enlist Props

Something as simple as a card that asks an open-ended question can literally open up the modes of communication.

Grab a card game, like Table Topics, or something along those lines. We use the family version, but there are so many different ones to choose from.

It’s actually quite interesting what we’ve learned about each other. Some make us laugh. Some make us really stop and think. I definitely recommend them – or make your own!

Indirect Conversation

I’ve learned that if I get wind that something either occurred in school or with a friend, I start a conversation about something totally different with them.

It could be something as simple as, “What did you have for lunch?” that morphs in to, “How was lunchtime?”, which can then lead into what maybe happened at lunch with a friend – you get where I’m going.

Listen. Just Listen.

We are all busy, but we need to take the time to listen.

I let them speak and get their entire thought out before jumping into what I may think is the appropriate solution. Sometimes just letting them talk it through can help lead them to a solution.

Hugs are also extremely powerful. Hugging and listening can be a superpower duo to help calm your child and open up.

What Do You Do?

I am by far no expert when it comes to this but I enjoy sharing what works with our family in hopes that it may spark something for yours. I’d love to know other tips on how you get your kids to open up and talk! Please comment below so I can add them to my arsenal of info!


About The Author

Dana Peller

Dana Peller

Iā€™m a wife, mom, biz owner, writer, creator, and TV personality. My days are accomplished with a dash of flair, lots of style, and fueled by coffee.

About The Author

Dana Peller

Dana Peller

Iā€™m a wife, mom, biz owner, writer, creator, and TV personality. My days are accomplished with a dash of flair, lots of style, and fueled by coffee.

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42 thoughts on “How to Get Your Kids to Open Up”

  1. I totally agree just be there and offer a listening ear to them. Do not jump into any conclusion unless they ask for one. Even if they ask for one, I will still leave it to them to solve the problem, as this will help them to be responsible for their own actions. Thanks for sharing your parenting knowledge and it has been very useful.

    1. Exactly! I catch myself sometimes giving them the solution to their problem instead of letting them talk it out!

  2. I’m very lucky to have three girls who tell me everything. We’ve always had an open line of communication and hopefully it stays that way.

    1. I am so glad to hear that you and your little ladies have open lines of communication! Keep it up, Heather šŸ™‚

  3. I have found the key is to listen to them when they are younger and they will keep coming back and communicating as they get older

  4. my two are still only little at 4 and 6 my little girl tells me everything but my little boy can be a bit shy. Some great tips here thanks for sharing

    1. Katie, I think it is awesome that your daughters tell you everything! Keep those lines of communication open as you have been!

  5. Thank you for this informative post, I really like the topic. I’m not a mom so I’m going to share this with people who will love it more than me šŸ™‚ – Amalia

  6. It’s tougher especially when they get older but this is a great post. It’s important to establish that open trust when they are young. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Sometimes parenting can be a challenging task, glad you have shared some few tips here that can be of help to parents struggling to communicate well with their kids. Thanks

  8. This is important information for parents with children at any age! I’ll share this with my friends with children

  9. I once looked into getting those table topic cards for me and my husband; I didn’t know they had one for families too! Great advice!

  10. Tonya Morris

    Oh my gosh I have this to look forward to! This is some great advice and I love the table topic cards idea!

  11. Hi, Dana! Just gone through your post. I am really worried about my two kids are growing older. Next term, they are going to start schooling. I think it will help me a lot. very much helpful post for the worried moms.

  12. These are great tips. I feel like listening is the most important. It encourages them to open up and also teaches them the importance of listening to others.

  13. I’ve found that our teenagers can get pretty moody and closed off. When I ask them questions, I stay away from yes/no questions.

  14. Alexandra Cook

    This is such a great topic. My kids are really awesome. They tell me all the things they want to open. And the best part of it, is my role as a mother listening to them and giving them such a piece of advice šŸ™‚

  15. What a great topic for mothers. It is really important to know things about your kids. Listening is the key.

  16. Kristy Bullard

    My kids used to tell me everything when they were little. But now that they are tweens I have to draw them out a little more. I ask them questions about their favorite singer or are you-tuber to get them to open up.

  17. Chelle Dizon

    My son is officially a teenager today and yes I do agree with what you said about they are not as open as before. These are really great tips. Thanks!

  18. Thank you for these precious tips! Talking to children and get them open up can be a delicate matter!

  19. Akamatra

    We have established a family sharing time in meal time with our 2,5 year old daughter since before she was able to speak. We would talk about our day and she would just listen. Now she asks us about our day and she openly talks about hers. Kids see, kids do!

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