“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Here’s how a typical conversation with my kids on the way home from school goes, “so how was your day?”
Response from my third grader, “Good.”
Response from my kindergartner, “Fine.”
And if I don’t press, that’s the end of our conversation. For the next 20 minutes, we listen to music, the girls talk to one another, and that’s that. It wasn’t until we got home that my wife began asking more questions than I heard stuff like, “Our field trip was so fun!” or “Mommy, a boy in my class really hurt my feelings. He kept calling me names.”
I get it, my girls have a special bond with mom, and she can ask the same question that I do and often get a much better response. That’s common.
But I want to be UNCOMMEN! So we instituted a new game in our household that gets everyone talking and listening, and the best part is, Daddy made it happen.
Lay the groundwork now that it can be carried over to another creative share time.
We call it “Q Time,” which stands for “Question Time.” Sometimes in the car or often-times at the dinner table, we start it up like this:
In their best pep rally voice, one of the kids initiates,” What time is it?!”
Then we triple clap.
The kids cheered, “Q Time!”
Typically only once, sometimes obnoxiously loud. Always with enthusiasm!
The rules are simple. Whoever started Q Time picks the first person to share something about their day, good or bad. Then each family member can ask one question to discover more information. So, as a family, we are all engaging each person fully, giving them our undivided attention, and asking them more questions to find out what made that issue so good (or bad) that they had to share during our most awesome Q Time.
I’ve been amazed at how attentive nine-year-old, six-year-old, and five-year-old twins can be to one another. It’s also here that Mom and Dad discover if there is something we need to talk to our children privately about. Q Time is fun. It’s almost always fun. But if it’s not for a particular child, that often means there’s something they are really hurt by or embarrassed about, which gives me and my wife the heads up that one of us needs to follow up. We’ve been playing Q Time for over a year and have noticed the need to have just a few of those one-on-one conversations.
For now, the kids are pretty transparent with one another, and I’m just ecstatic that we are setting the expectation that we regularly share our feelings and what influences our attitudes and actions throughout the day. I didn’t have that as a kid, but I’m determined to make it happen for my family. More importantly, my kids are bound to be more fully known. As they get older, I’m sure we’ll have to change the game’s rules, as I’m sure pep rallies will be reserved for high school football games. Hopefully, we’re laying the groundwork now that it can be carried over to another creative share of time as they get too cool for mom and dad. I also pray that they pay it forward during their own family time in the future.
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Great seeing that kind of communication. I do that often with my boys. We have a special BOND and I am so happy and proud of it.