We talk to thousands of parents using our KidCoachApp to have more meaningful conversations with their children.
We were curious where they have the very BEST chats with their kids.
Could it be that certain times or place tend to work best?
Here is a quick run down of the 7 top places that kept coming up, and some tips on how to make the best of each location.
The clear favourite was in the car.
Not only do you have a captive audience, but there is so much opportunity for you to have conversations about where it is you are going or coming from. Instead of the normal small talk, try mixing things up.
We collated this list of 22 car games which is very popular.
It's a also a good place to have a "sideways" chat with kids. Sometimes they engage more when not face-to-face experts have told us, since there can be less pressure to say something.
Food brings us all together.
Talking at the dinner table is a versatile place to have conversations, it allows for a safe space for more serious topics, and more light-hearted ones. By sitting at the table together, there is the potential to bond over the food, taking time to think of responses as food is chewed.
The Family Dinner Project is a good resource with more ideas for good food and conversation.
The only thing you will have to worry about is everyone speaking with their mouth full!
Many parents tell us that the 5-10 minutes n the walk to school or back again later in the day is one of the best one-on-one times they have with kids.
It can be pretty hectic in the mornings we know. It's a chance though to get kids' brains warmed up and ready for school. Maybe play a few talking games on the way?
And on the pick up we often start with "how was school today? but don't get much further! You could try instead this site with alternative questions to ask each day that are sure to get kids talking and thinking!
Most children wind down when in bed. Often the most unexpected and memorable conversations happen here.
Lying down next to them also creates that "sideways" chat that children seem to open up more in.
It's a good time therefore to check in on mental health and feelings. See how they are feeling being their ‘chat buddy’ on the same level as them. Use bedtimes, nap times or chill times as ways to have these deeper and important conversations.
If you are struggling to get your kids to open up, have a look at our conversation tips to talk to kids about their mental health article.
Just like the school run or car time, being out and about with your kids is an excellent time to have meaningful conversations with them. The world around you is your conversation oyster!
Look around for those prompting questions.
Crossing the road: “Why do you think a lollypop man/woman is called a lollypop man/woman?” Walking past a shop: "If our family had a shop, what would we call it and sell?” In the park: "What's the tallest tree? The greenest? the oldest?"
Kids having a visual cue helps a lot, so walking out and about is a great way for kids to engage in conversation.
It feels like we are always in a queue for something!
But some parents repurpose this dead time to start some interesting conversations. One good way is to people watch!
If in line at a shop, perhaps have conversations about the people around you: "What do you think their name is?" "Where do you think they are going?" "How do you think they are feeling?"
Just make sure they don't hear you!
This is the only place listed where there is no multitasking going on. The sofa, the place where kids plonk themselves to watch TV. How about carving out some time, especially for ‘sofa talks’?
Try just 5-10 minutes a day of quality time conversations. No other distractions. Kids should also develop the skill of being able to have direct and front-facing conversations. So by doing this once a day, it reminds kids to nourish their conversation skills without relying on external distractions.
If the TV is on then the news is a good channel. It can always be used to stimulate conversation: "Is it right that this is happening?" "What do you think will happen next?" "What would you do in this case?" etc.
One of the great things about this list is that they are all examples of places and things that you do already. No need to make more time, just use the time a little differently.
Any other places we haven’t thought of? We would love to hear of any other places that you talk to your kids, so feel free to let us know @kidcoachapp on our socials!
And for a little helping hand to spark the conversation in the car, on the way to school or any of these other places - why not try out the KidCoachApp?
Hundreds of quick, fun and thought-provoking questions for your 6-12 year olds. We've done the hard work so you can just relax and enjoy the conversation!
Download the KidCoachApp from your usual app store and get started for free!