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All about Parenting Toddlers, Issue #026 - Ten Ways to Get Your Kids to Talk to You
June 02, 2004

Shaping the life of your precious ones

All about Parenting Toddlers
Issue #026
2nd June 2004

Welcome to another issue of All about Parenting Toddlers . This month, we will be celebrating Father's Day. To all the fathers out there, have a very Blessed Father's Day.

In This Issue:

1. Ten Ways to Get Your Kids to Talk to You
2. Starting a playgroup
3. Latest updates on Parenting Toddlers

Ten Ways to Get Your Kids to Talk to You

Parents can often be frustrated by their kids’ unwillingness to share their lives with them. Whether your kids are toddlers or teens, there will be times when it’s difficult to “break through” and find out what‘s really going on.

Here are ten ideas on how to create opportunities for your kids to open up and share their lives with you.

1. Don't try so hard to get them to talk.
The harder you try to get them to talk, the more they'll resist you. When you relax the pressure a bit, they’ll sense it and be more ready to talk to you.

2. Slow down your own life and be available.
Kids have a keen sense of how busy you are. If you're providing enough down time for you and your kids, they'll be more likely to feel comfortable talking to you.

3. Engage in a physical activity that they enjoy.
Shooting baskets, playing soccer, or a game of catch may have your child chattering away. Moving the body can serve to move the mouth as well!

4. Be as non-judgmental as possible.
If your kids feel they won't be judged when they talk to you they'll have no reason to hold back. Have a sense of curiosity and wonder about what they’re saying, and limit the lectures about what’s right or wrong.

5. Use open-ended questions.
Questions that begin with "why" tend to create defensiveness, and yes or no questions won't get you much of a response. Learn to use questions that will stimulate conversation. “What did you notice about that picture?” works better than, “Did you like that picture?”

6. Use the car as a place for conversation.
You've got them and they can't get out! Don't allow video games or other toys to interfere with your opportunity to talk with them.

7. Reflect back what you hear from them.
It's still the best way for your kids to feel heard and the best way to encourage them to expand on the subject.

8. Talk to them while they're coloring, painting, or drawing.
Using these activities to allow your kids to express themselves can have them expressing themselves to you as well. And joining in on the activity yourself can produce an even greater sense of connection and sharing.

9. Provide opportunities for fun and excitement.
Whatever the activity, when your kids are doing something they love to do they'll want to share it with you. Provide these for your kids and listen to them talk about it afterward!

10. Be a friend as well as a parent.
While you must be a parent first, being a friend to your kids will help them to want to share with you. Don't overdo the strict parental stuff.

Written by Mark Brandenburg MA, CPCC, the author of 25 Secrets of Emotionally Intelligent Fathers ( For more great tips and action steps for fathers, sign up for his FREE bi-weekly newsletter, Dads, Don’t Fix Your Kids, at


Wish you could work from *home* and spend more time with your toddler/young children? Here are some of the things you could do right from the comfort of your home …..


Starting a playgroup
by Ruth Liew

PLAYGROUPS are popular with parents and children who are too young for nursery school. Most playgroups are set up by stay-at-home mothers with infants and toddlers. There are also various non-profit organisations which initiate playgroups in the community.

Playgroups enable parents to socialise and seek support from other parents in the neighbourhood. More working parents are setting up playgroups during weekends. Even fathers are getting involved in their children’s playgroups.

Children learn through play; they become explorers, inventors and educators. When children play together, they are both learners and teachers to one another. Play offers children the opportunity to be part of a group, to gain individual success from the success of the whole group.

In playgroups, parents are required to work together to create developmentally-appropriate activities for their children. Most children who participate in playgroups are under four years old. Sometimes, older siblings do join in playgroups when they are not attending kindergarten.

A good playgroup provides a positive environment where children can experiment with dry and wet sand, engage in painting, pouring water, rolling playdough, building blocks and playing with a wide variety of table toys. They can play imaginatively in the pretend play corner or follow a storytelling session. Or they can look at books, sing along, or chat with interested adults about anything and everything.

The parents of the playgroup share responsibility in setting up the playgroup and cleaning up. Every parent and child would take turns to provide snacks and drinks for the group. Playgroups help young children to develop friendships, and enable parents to support and encourage each other.

As parenting can be a frustrating job, playgroups give new parents a chance to voice their concerns to sympathetic ears. The sharing and caring that goes on in playgroups, helps new parents realise that they are doing a good job.

Many parents learn a great deal about their children’s development and parenting styles from interacting with others in playgroups. They learn to be more understanding towards their children’s development in later years.

Here are some ideas to consider before setting up a playgroup:

Setting up a playgroup
Since playgroups can only take in a limited number of children and adults, many parents find themselves on a long waiting list. So why not set one up yourself? For parents with special needs children, setting up a playgroup can help them find support and understanding in the community.

Looking for participants
It is better to find families with children around the same age. You can start with two or three families and stop at the maximum of 10. Spend some time exploring ideas with these families before embarking on a playgroup together.

Right time to meet
Most stay-at-home mothers prefer weekday mornings while working parents prefer weekend evenings. Generally, playgroups meet once or twice a week, for about one and a half hours. Some organisations have longer sessions for families to go in and out of playgroups. Before you decide on the time and day, select a few options. This may come in handy.

Where to meet
If you have a small group, you may want to take turns to meet in each other’s homes. However, some mothers may not be prepared to open up their homes to messy play. If you are looking for a place to rent, you may want to consider these factors: an indoor and outdoor play space that is safe and easy to supervise, a separate kitchen, suitable toilet facilities, storage space, parking facilities and public transport.

Choosing activities
The activities you choose for your playgroup depend on the ages of the children. Work this out with your group of parents and find out what are the activities they want for their children. It is important to draw up proper guidelines for parents and children to follow in the playgroup. They can help to make the playgroup experience a positive one.


If you need great gifts ideas for Dad, check out Discovery Store’s Father's Day Gift Guide.


Latest updates on Parenting Toddlers

The Parenting Toddlers website is constantly being updated with more information.

Below are the latest additions :

Simple child science experiments using items you can easily find at home

Safety considerations and tips every parent should take note when using a child swing set

Alphabets games that can be used to enhance alphabet learning for young children

Remember to check back often for more updates on parenting toddlers.

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See you in the next issue. :-)

All the best,

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