Make sure that you know and trust the person with whom your child is communicating before embarking on a pen pal project. If your child is corresponding by email, review cyber safety rules before logging on, and confirm that your child has the correct address for his/her pen pal.
Start a Family Book Club
A family book club is an ideal way for kids to connect with parents and siblings. It gives you a shared activity to do together that revolves around observation and communication – key elements of meaningful moments shared through stories (both those you read and those you tell).
Take turns selecting a book for the family to read and discuss. Let your kids pick the books first so that they can share something they love with you, and can lead the initial book club discussions. A family book club helps with skill building during the summer (we see you, Summer Slide) but even more, it creates a pathway to conversation. Book clubs are safe spaces to connect over ideas and events that you read about. Inevitably, this gives your children the comfort and the confidence to talk about issues or concerns they face in their own lives in a way that feels more natural, and more open, than direct questioning about how they are doing or what they are feeling on a given school day afternoon.
Consider holding each of your book club meetings in a different location – the living room, in the backyard or out in a park, in one of your children’s bedroom to allow them to play host. Changing your environment helps to set different tones for conversations and can make those conversations flow more energetically.
Put a New Spin on Old Games
Reinvent Game Night in your home by kicking up the creativity and re-imaging favorite games based on your child’s or your family’s favorite hobbies, characters or teams. Our list is by no means exhaustive, but it’s a great place to start!
Played like traditional charades, but with categories unique to Minecraft, this serves as the perfect way to bring your kid’s screen life into real life. Your kids will be happy to take the lead on this one, sharing their insight on their favorite game. You will learn more about something they love and why they love it.
Giving children the opportunity to be experts on something creates memorable, enjoyable moments for your family. It also gives them the chance to flex their leadership skills, to build confidence, and to realize that they have things to teach you and that you are willing and open to learn from them. That is the hallmark of open dialogue and good conversation in families.
Create a tic-tac-toe game that replaces the Xs and Os with your child’s favorite storybook characters. To make the pieces, your kids can draw or print out images.