With our children growing up in an increasingly digitised world, it’s important to cultivate genuine connection: in real-time. A face-to-face, un-hurried, patient conversation with an abundance of heartfelt listening.
Meaningful conversations can help to build trust and a special bond between parent and child, by showing them that you really care and that their experiences are important.
So keep talking with your children; paving the way to deeper discussions as they grow older. Here are some simple conversation starters to get the ball rolling:
1. What are three things you want to say alhamdullilah for today?
This one can be pretty powerful. An important one to check in and see what kinds of things your children are grateful for.
2. What is your earliest memory and how old do you think you were?
A child’s earliest memories can tell you what they value most. Listen to the way they describe settings, feelings, and the people in the memory. Memories we share can be reflected upon quite differently between you and your little one.
3. Which physical games or sports do you enjoy the most?
This is a great way to explore which physical activities your child is excited about, and encourage a healthy mindset toward exercise.
Maybe you can take some inspiration from our Salam Sisters and explore these ideas: going on a bike ride like Nura, horse riding like Yasmina, tennis like Karima, gardening like Layla, or learning to surf like Maryam!
4. What is your favourite subject at school and how can we explore it more deeply outside of school?
Learning doesn’t need to stop after the school bell rings. Encourage your child to further explore her favourite subject(s) at home, at the museum, library, local park, Eid fair, or even hospital? Think outside the square. The opportunities are endless. You’ll be surprised at how a love for learning can develop.
5. Think about the last time you felt sad. What did you do to feel better?
We all experience sadness throughout life, making it important to have the right skills and tools to help manage the powerful emotion. This question will allow you to explore how your child is currently processing her feelings.
Help your child come up with strategies on how she can lift her mood and spirits. Know that just by having the conversation with her, you're letting her know that you're there for her - which might just be all that she needs.
6. Remember the last time you felt very responsible and proud of something you did. What was it?
Keep reaching for the stars! It feels good to reflect on accomplishments. Help your child look back on moments that made him feel happy with his actions and encourage him to keep it up!
7. What is your favourite way of showing a loved one you appreciate them? When do you feel most loved?
We often take it for granted that the people we love know it, but we can often do more to express that in clearer ways.
Help your child think about how he enjoys expressing his love and what makes him feel most loved; and share how you feel about it too. For example, your child might really love them two extra seconds in a warm hug before you rush out the door in the morning for work.
This is a great way to brainstorm ideas on thoughtful ways to show others you care about them and they matter to you.
8. If you could bake the best cake in the world, what would it taste like?
Let’s get creative (and silly) with this one! Use your imagination and see what wild sweet concoction your child can come up with as being the best cake on the planet! Yummy! More stardust and unicorn glitter? We won't say no to that :)
9. What is one question that you really want to ask right now? The most difficult question you can think of?
You'll be surprised at what kinds of questions your little one has been holding inside. The key with this one is to be equally curious about the question they come up with and put in the time to research it together — even if you know the answer.
10. If you could live in your favourite storybook, which one would you choose? Which character would you be and why?
We all have favourite childhood books. Imagine living in one! Allow your child to express her creativity, and stretch her thoughts and ideas. See what type of exciting world she can create in her mind. Using her favourite book as a reference can be a great way to build an analogy for valuable lessons and to gain insight into what your daughter values.
If you try one (or more) of these conversation starters, we'd love to hear about how it went! Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org