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happy family habit #8 - establish a chatting spot.  Part of a great series on the little things families can do to be happier together.

Happy Family Habit #8: Get Your Kids to Talk with a Chatting Spot

We’re back with another Happy Family Habit today and it’s a really good one.  Kristin has a lot of really useful tips not only on the when and where of setting up a chatting spot with the kids – but also the how and why.  

So what do you say? Ready to spend the next 21 days establishing a chatting spot?

Talking is easy when kids are little.  In fact, sometimes we feel like it would be nice to have a little less talking!  But getting into the habit of talking with your kids will be worth it’s weight in gold at about the age of, say…thirteen.

By creating a time when we put away phones and turn off distractions, we focus all our attention on our child.  The conversations are meaningful, and you’ll be surprised at the deep thoughts of a five year old.

Bedtime is the easiest time to establish a chatting spot.  We are already slowing down and finishing up the day.  Most likely we go in their room and tuck the kids in, read books or pray.  At some point in the bedtime routine, ask kids about their day. 

Ask how they feel about what happened and most importantly be a good listener.  As your kids grow, the conversations will move from playground games to more serious issues like bullying or self-esteem.  The more comfortable kids are in talking with their parents, the more they’ll open up.

If you’re looking for more opportunities to talk to your children, try special dates.  Plan a specific time to take your child out by him or herself for a meal or favorite activity.  When you’re away from the regular routine, it can be a great time to talk one-on-one.


Have you noticed that a child’s mood will affect how much they want to talk?  If they’re feeling down or frustrated, you might get a lot of one word answers.  But, if a child is feeling happy, they’ll be a little more chatty.  Taking that special time will set the stage for good conversation.

Speaking of setting the stage, things like making dinner together or cleaning up the yard are purposed activities that build camaraderie and open the door for dialogue.  Be thoughtful and put in the effort now to establish a chatting spot.  You’ll be thankful you did!


Question of the Day

Do you have other ideas for establishing a chatting spot?



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Kristin is a former teacher turned children’s photographer in southern California. Visit her website to read all about her adventures in photography, cooking, and her love of style.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Jane September 26, 2013 at 1:01 pm

Hi, Thanks for sharing this post. It’s inspired me to share my views as well over here :) http://kidsjoyhome.com/2013/09/26/getting-kids-to-open-up/


Steph (MPMK Founder) September 26, 2013 at 1:15 pm

Great ideas Jane – thanks for sharing!


JulieK September 27, 2013 at 2:22 am

Oh my. this brings back memories for me! I “created” my own chatting spot with my parents as a teenager. On their bed. About 11:30. Right when they wanted to go to sleep. I would suddenly appear and start chatting away. For probably an hour. My poor parents. But I’m SO thankfully they put up with me, b/c I have fond memories of these moments and I daresay I unburdened my heart and got good advice most of the time. To this day I know I am the child (of 3) that is the closest with my parents b/c I “tell them everything” :)


Steph (MPMK Founder) September 27, 2013 at 2:24 am

Julie – I bet your parents were thrilled you wanted to talk to them! I certainly will be if my kiddos are talking that much to me once they’re teenagers.


Jane September 27, 2013 at 4:45 am

Julie/Steph – me too! That’s the kind of relationship I hope to have with my kiddos too!


Our Vintage Life September 27, 2013 at 11:59 am

What a great idea! I’ve heard of reading nooks and homework zones, but never a chatting spot. Love it!


Kristin September 27, 2013 at 12:26 pm

Jane, that was a great post! And Julie, I love hearing your memories. That’s the goal right!? Healthy relationships as they grow to adults!


Jane September 29, 2013 at 11:51 am

Thanks, Kristin! Absolutely agree with you!


Marsha October 4, 2013 at 9:57 am

I never thought of it in quite those terms. Great idea! My routine, when son was teenager was to catch him first thing through the door. He wanted to unload and would eagerly share his day. I had to be sure to be available – period, because once he made it upstairs into his room, the moment was lost and I might not get another word the rest of the evening.

Now we have lunch occasionally, just the two of us and talk about his family and work :-) Very precious moments indeed as both of our lives have gotten so much busier.


Shawnna K February 8, 2014 at 9:06 pm

Great idea! I’ve been looking for a meaningful way to connect with my toddlers. Both talk all day, but I have trouble focusing on just one or the other, especially with a million other things that need doing too. Setting aside a special time for each one (marking it on the calendar!) is a great way to ensure quality time.


Kristin Eldridge February 10, 2014 at 11:48 am

Glad you like the idea! I love that you are setting aside special time for each of them.


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