All of us at Celebrate Kids believe so firmly in the value of conversation that we post a question worth asking children on our Facebook page every weekday. We also designed an app that publishes a question every day to ask children. For example, yesterday’s was “What’s one thing you learned in “science, health, history, art, etc.) today?” That question will most likely get more details from children than the more typical, “How was school?” and “What did you learn today?” And, if you know your children have art on Tuesdays and you remember to ask about art on Tuesdays, they’ll know you’re paying attention. That blesses children!
Further evidence that we know parents and kids need to talk is found in the subtitle of my book about technology’s influence on children’s beliefs and behaviors. It’s “Connecting With Our Kids in a Wireless World.”
As I wrote about in the last several blogs, children need parents to talk to so they can reap all the benefits possible from playtime and even from the technology we allow them to use. They also can learn skills through conversation.
If you haven’t read these blogs and would like to do so, here are the links:
- Take a Tech Break! Play, Talk, and Interact Instead
- Even More Good Reasons To Take a Tech Break!
- Conversations Count: Talking Never Goes Out of Style
- Our “Smarts” Make Play Time Even More Enjoyable
Remembering to use the 8 great smarts doesn’t just help us play well with kids. They can also help our conversations go well. There are several things to consider when wanting to use your knowledge of multiple intelligences when talking with children:
- Children will often talk more when involved in activities that are their strengths and that they enjoy. Rather than having serious conversations over meals or while just sitting with your children, try engaging them while they’re busy.
- Children may be more willing to talk about the things they enjoy related to the smarts and then you can transition from those topics to other things you want to talk about.
- Children may listen and talk more when you bond over your similar interests and abilities. You can tell stories about your past use of one of the smarts that one of your children is currently expressing an interest in. You can ask questions about how they do something that you do differently. Connections strengthen conversations.
And, of course, just talking about the smarts may keep the conversations going. Often starting with something children are familiar with and then transitioning to something you need to talk about works. For example:
- Nature-smart children may want to talk with you about plants, animals, rocks, stars, wind, and any number of things relevant to nature. They also think with patterns so talking about the design of things can engage them.
- Body-smart children will enjoy talking about their favorite sport, teams, and athletes that they may follow or watch on television. Or, maybe their body-smart ability is demonstrated through dance or acting. When that’s the case, talking about those things will be wise. They think with movement and touch so don’t expect them to engage deeply with you if they must sit still and keep their hands to themselves.
- Self-smart children think with reflection so asking them questions and giving them time to think before expecting them to answer deeply is respectful. They may enjoy interacting with you most about deep subjects that interest them. Asking them about how they formed their opinion and the reasons they believe what they believe will connect you well.
- People-smart children will engage over just about any topic as long as they get to listen and talk. That’s the key. Don’t lecture. Discuss because they think with other people so they need your input and reactions.
- Logic-smart children may enjoy talking about new discoveries and research they’d love to do. They think with questions so asking and answering them are keys to successful conversations. Don’t just ask questions you want answers to. Make sure to ask questions they’ll want to answer.
- Word-smart children can talk about books they read recently. They may be interested in hearing about yours. Talking about their favorite words can be fun. They think by reading, writing, speaking, and listening so using all four can be profitable.
- Picture-smart children may want to talk about why their favorite color is their favorite, why they enjoy the art mediums they do, and something they want to do when they’re older that is related to their creative abilities. They think in pictures so speaking with rich adjectives and vivid verbs can help them pay attention. Allowing them to tell stories about the things they see in their minds is helpful.
- Music-smart children will love to talk about their favorite musical group and their favorite style of music. They may want to listen to yours and talk with you about it. They think with rhythms and melodies so don’t be surprised if they make music by tapping their foot or rolling their fingers on the table while you talk.
When we talk with children about their smarts or consider their smarts when talking and listening, it shows them that we know them and we care who they are.
Talking matters. Remembering all 8 smarts can help everyone have deeper and more satisfying conversations. I hope that happens for you and your kids!