By Kim Norton
Conversation starters that warrant more than a one-word response open the door for a healthy exchange of daily events, ideas, feelings, and thoughts. It gives each family member permission to not only share the events of their day but also their thoughts and feelings on what transpired, what they could have done differently and how it did or did not affect them.
With eyes glued to mobile phones, kids coming and going and parents having to work after hours, this healthy exchange of information is being lost not only to our kids and teens but also to adult family members.
Texting, and texting in abbreviation, has become the norm replacing the valuable exchange of ideas and information through discussion and reflection. One-word responses have become the norm to our questions and emojis have replaced all forms of the written word in text. Ask the usual question of “Did you have a good day today”? and you will get the obligatory “yup” or “nah” or thumbs up emoji when asked in text. Ask “Tell me something that made you happy today”? and you will evoke a much more emotional response.
Using conversation starters like those listed below can help every family member work through their feelings and manage their emotions more effectively fostering trust and strengthening family bonds. It also allows for building on vocabulary and communication skills as well as having the potential to be informative and lots of fun.
Give it a go. Make the time to sit down with the family either at dinner or in the car ride home from school. Put down the phone. You might just be surprised what you learn about them, and yourself.
Some examples to get you started include:
- What is your biggest wish?
- What is your biggest fear?
- What do you daydream about?
- What are you thankful for today?
- If you could change one thing in your life, what would it be?
- If you could change your name, what would you change it to?
- What is the one thing you like most about yourself?
- If you could be a colour, what colour would you be?
- If you had one day when you could do anything at all, what would you do?
- What are three things you couldn’t live without?
- If you could invent a rule that people HAD to obey, it would be?
- If you were an animal, what would you be?
- If you had a super-power, what would you want it to be? Why?
- If you could be invisible for a day, where would you go? What would you do?
- If you had a time machine, would you use it? What time would you visit and why?
- What was the best gift you ever got?
- What will you do when you are old? (PS: How old is “old”?)
- What is the one thing you will never ever do?
- The problem with being you is that?
- If you had $10 million, what would you do with it?
- If you had to go live on a deserted island, what would you take with you?
- What did you dream about last night?
- What goals do you have for the next week, month, 3 months etc?
- What do you think you are good at?
- If you had three wishes, what would you wish for?
- Give me an “I am” statement.
- What is something you are looking forward to?
- How is (insert friend’s name)?
- Describe yourself in 3 words.
- Tell me something that made you happy today.
Kim is the founder of Rainbow Light Therapies and is a Holistic Counsellor specialising in stress and anxiety management for kids, teens, and adults. Kim provides a unique, intuitive, and individualised therapy approach through individual, small group, and family counselling sessions both online and at her studio in Langwarrin. Also working with special needs kids, Kim runs sessions and workshops for people of all abilities on assorted topics throughout the year.