September is a busy time for families, for both parents and children.  They both are juggling for the first time or once again, how to juggle time commitments, car pools, and school visits on top of all the ordinary things of life that go on each day.  One aspect of life that can easily be forgotten amidst all of this moving about is simply, each other.  We have the best of intentions, but it is easy to get in a mode of “getting the job done.”  This is especially true regarding communication within the family; it can easily take second place to many other tasks.  Thus what can so often take place is the following scenario at the family dinner: Dad or Mom asks son or daughter: “How was school?” Answer: “Fine.”  or “How’d the game go?” Answer:  “Great.”

We all want to do better with these conversations.  The Internet journal, offered some suggestions in a recent story on starting conversations in the home.  A family initiated, “Back-and-forth questions.”  A parent asked a question of a child. Then, it would be the child’s turn to ask his parent a question. Some back and forth questions: What’s been the best and the worst part of your day so far? What made it so?  What happened today that you didn’t expect?  The parents soon began asking back-and-forth questions of each other, whether out for dinner or working on a home-repair project, like:  What have you been thinking about this week that we haven’t had a chance to talk about?

The author says not to give up if your kids resist back-and-forth questions at first. . . let’s give this a try.  Good questions draw other people out.  Here are some more questions the author proposes for use at the dinner table, where everyone takes a turn responding:1. What are you grateful for today?  2. What’s some good news you’d like to share? 3. What’s something nice you did for someone today? 4. What is something you learned today – in school or from life?

I am sure this is a topic that families wonder about.  Everyone wants to be better at family conversations.  Try asking a good question, one that you will also answer once you get an answer from someone else!