Rachel Maucieri

Remember the last time your child told you, with unending enthusiasm, about their latest Lego project ("...and this is the launcher! And the tower! And the place they sleep! And this…")? Yes, the description went on forever. On the other hand, your child had no hesitancy in telling you about something they care about.

Wouldn't it be great if you had that same open communication with everything?

While it might feel like those run-on conversations with your 5-year-old are meandering, hard to follow, and sometimes downright boring, you can actually use these conversations to set up the habits of open communication that can last your child's lifetime.

Here are three tips to get you started:

1. First, remember they're beginners

Kids, for all their talking, are still beginners in the art of conversation. Depending on their age, they have varying levels of conversational skills, and even as teens they're still refining and practicing them. One-word answers, run-on answers and other awkward conversation moments are opportunities to help our kids practice communicating. Remembering this makes it easier to hang in there when listening gets tough.

2. Be curious

When you ask a question, and your child responds with a one-word answer, be ready to probe a bit—not as an interrogation, but in a way that expresses your curiosity about your child.

If they describe the movie they saw with a one-word answer, expand on that. What made it 'cool," 'great,' or 'boring?" Ask about details, and you are more likely to get a detailed answer. "What do you think the hero was thinking when she was trapped by her enemy?" "What was the most exciting scene?"

As adults, we have a large bank of vocabulary and experiences to draw from—this makes it easier for us to describe events and feelings. Our kids are still building that reservoir. Help them paint a more vivid picture with their description through your specific questions. Think about asking for specifics that will allow your child to share their experiences. Get them filling in those details!

3. Start with the familiar…the very familiar

It's tempting to shy away from kids' favorite conversation topics because you've already heard about them over and over, but those same topics are great starting points. Your kids are eager to tell you in great detail everything they know about the topic, be it their favorite video game, the book series they love, or their latest interest in dinosaurs.

Now try these 10 phrases:

The following 10 conversation starters are from Bounceback Parenting, A Field Guide to Connection, Not Perfection. These conversation starters are great because they're entertaining and let you get to know one another while you're on a drive, waiting in line, or eating a meal together.

1. What's something that our family is really good at?

2. What are you looking forward to about ____________?

3. What was the [funniest, grossest, weirdest, happiest, saddest] thing you noticed today?

4. What would be the worst superpower to have? What would be the best superpower to have?

5. If you could be any character in a book, who would you choose? Why?

6. When during the day do you feel the best? What season of the year do you like best?

7. Tell a memory of one of your favorite birthdays (or other holidays).

8. If you could solve one problem in the world, what would it be?

9. If you could, what part of today would you repeat? What part of today would you change?

10. What do you think your [grandpa, grandma, or other faraway relative] is doing right now?

Keep on listening and talking about the things your kids care about now, and they'll know they can come to you later as those topics get a bit more complex.

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Here are some our favorite "just because" gifts to give our hardworking mama friends.

New Mother face + body care duo

volition face + body care duo

This correcting oil and stretch mark minimizer is perfect for the pregnant mama looking to keep her pregnancy glow. The correcting oil brightens the skin while reducing dark spots, and the stretch mark minimizer works to smooth her ever-growing belly.


Allover roller

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This jade roller goes beyond your typical face roller and can be used anywhere on the body. It works to increase stimulation and reduce puffiness and is perfect for applying any oils to the face or body. Plus, it feels like a mini spa treatment.


Kombucha making kit

farmsteady kombucha making kit

What could be a more perfect gift for the health-obsessed friend? This kombucha making kit comes with everything you need to brew your own homemade green tea kombucha. They'll think this is the tastiest gift ever.


Laetitia lipstick

cupid & psyche laetitia

This red lipstick is perfect for your makeup enthusiast bestie who is looking to spruce up her life in quarantine. Crafted in the United States, these bee and vegan-friendly and cruelty-free lipsticks are created to flatter all complexions. Cupid and Psyche Beauty makes finding the perfect red lip way too easy!


Jigsaw puzzle

inner piecec jigsaw puzzle

Mamas need to destress now more than ever during quarantine. This adorable jigsaw puzzle is perfect for the mama who needs a brain break! The 500-piece puzzle designed by artist Ray Oranges features an abstract gradient design that fits a standard frame when completed. Bonus: It's printed on recycled paper and the company donates $1 from every puzzle sold to youth mindfulness programs.


Matilda's Bloombox

matilda's bloombox

If we have to be stuck inside, we might as well have some gorgeous florals to brighten up the space. Matilda's Bloombox locally sources blooms, delivers them to her door and provides simple tips on how to arrange it into a beautiful bouquet.


'I Am Enough' bracelet

I Am Enough bracelet

Let this dainty bracelet serve as a constant reminder to your bestie that she is enough. She'll wear this on her wrist and read this daily oath to herself, "I Am Enough."


Glow assorted teas

vahdam low assorted teas

This tea gift box set covers the entire spectrum of flavors from sweet to spicy. Individually packaged in beautiful tins, your gal pal will feel like a queen sipping her morning tea. Originally $40, this set is currently on sale for just $24. We'll take two, please.


Find your voice journal

find your voice journal

Journaling is a great way to ease anxiety and will slow your bestie's racing mind before bed. This gift is perfect for first time journalists and includes prompts, daily quotes and coloring pages to help her unlock her potential and find her voice.


Premium frother

shore magic premium frother

This gift is fitting for your latte-sipping bestie who can't go a day without her coffee. All she has to do is add two scoops of collagen to her favorite drink, and she'll have a perfectly foamy drink ready in seconds. Skipping the drive-thru line has never been so easy!


Bath soak infusion kit

maude bath soak infusion kit

Say hello to hydration! She'll be feeling smooth and relaxed as ever after a long bath soaking in these salts. This vegan + cruelty-free set incorporates dead sea salt and dehydrated coconut milk powder for an ultra hydrating experience.


Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

It's a hard-earned title she answers to a hundred times per day. Whether she's new to the club or a seasoned professional, this delicate script 'mama' necklace is guaranteed to be a perfect fit.


Superfood honey

Beekeeper's Naturals B.Powered honey

With a lack of sleep and jam-packed days, getting through the afternoon can be a real challenge. Send her a powerful pick-me-up in the form of a therapeutic blend of royal jelly, bee pollen, propolis and raw honey. It makes the ideal companion for tea, smoothies, yogurt or even on its on.


Calming midnight mask with melatonin

Who doesn't deserve a reminder to pamper themself every once in awhile? Even better, this mask does all its work at night while you're sleeping with no extra effort needed. It's an amazing plant-powered antioxidant-packed mask that has melatonin, wild dandelion leaf and hyaluronic acid to rehydrate, repair and reset facial skin. It's so good, you might want to gift it to yourself. We won't tell, mama.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


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