Communication seems like a no-brainer, but sometimes it doesn't happen effectively. We can talk to each other and yet miss knowing each other on a more intimate level. What are our family's likes and dislikes, pet peeves, dreams and fears? For most moms, this comes a little easier because we're involved in the ins and outs of the daily nitty gritty.
As kids grow older though, needs change, and communication can sometimes break down, becoming more "fact sharing" than true communication. Experiences and growth also change us. Learning about each other is a lifelong process.
An ice breaker ball is great for this. Take an inflatable beach ball and a Sharpie marker and write questions on it. Questions can be silly or serious. To play this game, throw the ball to someone and wherever their right thumb lands is the question they answer.
The point is to get to know each other better and used to talking. Different personalities sometimes have trouble expressing themselves and a fun game like this can help get the ball rolling (no pun intended). In the process, these thought provoking questions can help each individual learn more about themselves. Get creative and make this a really fun game your kids will enjoy playing over and over!
Another game we've played is The Ungame. This is the card version, so to speak, of the ice breaker ball. You can buy it as a board game, but we just bought the cards at The Family Christian Bookstore and played it for the first time at McDonald's over sundaes. There are different versions. Click here for creative ways to play.
Car rides are also a great time for meaningful conversation. We use road time to discuss questions like, what character trait do you want your future husband/wife to have? I'll never forget my five year old's answer to this question.... She wanted her future husband to know how to cook so they could cook together. (Pretty insightful for a 5 year old!)
The more intimate our dialogue is with each other,
the closer we'll grow together.
In our home we try to speak open and honestly with our kids (age appropriate, of course). No subject is off limits to talk about. With time, even what could be embarassing topics have become more natural to discuss.
Everyone needs someone to talk to.
Be approachable and become a safe haven for conversation
for both your spouse and your kids.
What have you tried to encourage effective communication in your home?