Small child holds parent's hand.

How to Get a Young Child to Open Up

When your child starts to go to elementary school and develops more of an identity about who they are, it is natural that they might not be willing to discuss everything with you that they once would have. However, some children may even find themselves walling their thoughts off from their parents, entirely. This can be difficult to experience, as a parent. After all, you’ve spent the past several years spending nearly every day with your child, and watching them grow away from that immediate connection can be hard. Here are some ways that you can get your child to open up and continue to foster that connection…

Try to break the ice with their interests

First of all, just trying to start up a conversation by asking how their day was is a bad way to go about getting a child to open up. If a child breaks into telling you all about what happened to them that day after that question, then they likely would have told you, anyways, even if you didn’t ask. Instead, try to break the ice with things that you know they are truly interested in, and then use that to navigate to other conversation topics.

Don’t overdo it with overbearing advice

As parents, it’s our job to make sure that our children are equipped to take on the world around them, and to spread the knowledge that we’ve gathered over the years. However, trying to push advice on our children whenever they talk to us about any issues can lead them to feel like you are taking over their agency. Instead, be sure to listen attentively to their problems, and then help them come to their own conclusions about what to do about a situation, with your guidance.

Make an effort, every day

Just because your child doesn’t want to talk to you or open up on one particular day, that doesn’t mean you should just assume that they never will. The key to having your children be open with you is to always be there to listen, and that starts with making an effort every single day. Even if they are slow to communicate, try to converse with them and share a moment every day, and they will grow to learn that they can come to you whenever they need to.

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