How to Engage Your Child in Conversation

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My son recently returned from a mission trip to North Carolina. Before he even departed, organizers sent us tips on engaging with our children upon their return. The goal was not only for us to simply learn about their trip, but to establish a long-term connection with our children based on their experiences.

As we begin preparing to send out sons and daughters off to school next week, I thought it was appropriate to share some of these tips. It is important for us to establish open lines of communication with our children as they maneuver through all the stressors that accompany this time of year.

While the information was specific to teens returning home from a mission trip, the communication tips are the same for teens returning home from their first few days of school. They include:

  • Be intentional about setting aside time to reconnect and talk with your teenager when they arrive home.
  • Tell your teen that you’re excited to hear all about his/her experience.
Plan a special meal or time when they know they have your attention face-to-face.
Avoid auto, one-word response questions like “How was your trip?” and instead ask “wondering” questions that allow for an open-ended response and prompt “story telling.”

–information provided by Group Mission Trips, Loveland, CO







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