Most kids talk non-stop when they are in preschool. However, as soon as they join Elementary and
even worse, high school most of them clam up. Additionally, trying to cross the extra barriers of a
Stepmom-stepkid relationship means that you probably need some extra tools to to get those kids
talking. We’ve got 6 strategies that you can try – they might feel a bit stilted and forced as you get
into them, but the more you practice and the more kids get use to them, the more natural it will
6 Tips to Help You Communicate Easily with Your Stepchild
As a Stepparent, one of your most important responsibilities is to be an ally for your stepchild, to
help them be successful and raise strong, resilient adults in this ever-changing world. You want to
form strong bonds with them. However, because ‘life happens’ you may be struggling through
periods where they become distant and you do not know what do next. Here are some ways you can
bring back your strong communication to your relationship.
1.Try some chit-chat in between your activities
When baking cookies or setting the table for dinner, ask them about how a friend of theirs is doing or
what they had for lunch. It’s easier for children to talk side-by-side while doing a simple activity
rather than face-on which is a lot more intense; and you might that they give you updates on their
friends and what they got up to at lunch. Sam from
suggests that if they’re still young,
pop them in their stroller and take a walk around the block and use the things that you see as
conversation starters for what they did at kindergarden. If they’re a bit older, take them for a walk to
the park and use the time to ask a couple of gentle questions.
2.Avoid vague questions
Be specific and open-ended when asking them questions so that you can help them remember
details about their day. ‘How was your day?’ isn’t likely to work whereas open-ended questions
about a specific topic enable them to use language instead of just answering 'yes' or 'no’, think about
their answers and give detailed information, express their thoughts and use their imagination. It also
allows you an opportunity to offer your opinion on some issues, or ask further questions.
3.Take advantage of their masterpieces and start a conversation with them
Studies show that when four-year-old kids brought home objects from school; their art projects,
science fair projects, the children referred to recent school activities significantly more than things
that happened a week or more before. So, use this to your advantage by asking them open-ended
questions about their current work and don’t forget to listen to their answers. Showing interest in
their coursework, sporting activities or projects increases their self-esteem as well as building a
strong link between school and home.
4.Try using a school-related book to connect with them
One of the best books to use as a conversation starter is Jack Prelutsky’s
‘What a Day it was at School!’ It hilariously discusses kids’ mayhem in school. For example, throwing food in the cafeteria,
hopelessly competing with a classmate in the gym, or emitting random noises during classes. It will
get your child laughing and connecting the stories to her school experience.
5.You also count, and sharing is caring
Talk about yourself if you want your stepkids to talk about themselves. Over dinner, open up about
your day. Your stepchild will interrupt, and you might not even get to the end of your story but it is a
conversation trigger because when you talk about yourself, it reminds kids about things that
happened to them earlier in the day.
6.Offer them some advice
Believe or not, your stepchildren still crave for direction. After they share their story, and you have
responded, discuss together how he/she can handle that situation differently next time.
Encourage them to share their ideas, and do not be afraid to offer your two cents. However, try not
to lecture, and take notice of those subtle signals that you’re talking too much. Keep it short, and use
your life-wisdom to guide.
You can try, “My experience is not anything close to yours, things are very different now,” since even
young children need to feel separate enough to discover what works for them. Let them make their
decisions without you because important advice means recognizing your limits to help your stepkids
become independent in decision-making. When they know where you stand, they feel closer to you
and more willing to open up.
Let these guidelines inspire you to open up new conversations with you stepkids, continue the
journey of building deeper relationships and growing your communication skills as a Stepmom.