Sometimes parents will say they have a hard time getting their kids to open up or talk with them about things. I think a great way to connect with your own children is to create a family book club. Reading a book together shows that you think reading is important and an enjoyable past time and, while you’re discussing the book, your child can practice conversation skills and potentially talk about things that are happening in their own lives. Here are 3 strategies you can use to help start your own book club:
Figure out who in your family wants to participate and pick a book to read together - Pick a good book that will generate some discussion within your family. I just recently read Wonder by R.J. Palacio and I was quite moved. It’s a powerful story about a boy born with a facial difference, and the challenges he deals with as he starts in school for the first time in 5th grade. This book tackles a lot of areas that kids have to deal with: bullying, exclusion, feeling different, fitting in and finding their place.
Figure out how to break down the book - One of the things I love about the book Wonder is that it is told from different characters’ perspectives. If you were to do a family book discussion using it, one way you could break it down would be to pause when the characters switch and discuss what has happened. There are 8 sections total, which seems like a good number of meetings for a first book.
- Set some parameters for family discussion - You can design it to fit your family’s needs. You can set a day you’d like to meet, or keep it more flexible. If you decide, you can read and have people make notes about passages that moved them, things they were confused by or that were upsetting. You could discuss the thoughts and feelings you had while reading through the story. With a book like Wonder, kids who have experienced similar situations may start to talk about what has happened to them. It might be a great jumping off point for a different discussion.
Even if you think this wouldn’t work for your family, pick a book and try it out. You might be surprised by what gets your kids to open up and communicate. Let me know how it goes!
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