8 Ways to Get Your Kids to Talk to You

Dr. Drew's Lifechanger and Parenting Expert Laura Roe Stevens asks, "When was the last time one of your children came to you for a real heart-to-heart chat?" Read on for her top tactics to help you bridge the communication gap between you and your child!


Get Active

Experts agree kids will chat more with you while you're busy doing a physical activity together. Even if you have a demanding work schedule, a mini hike on the weekend or even walking into town for ice cream, can inspire meaningful conversation or simple fun.

5 Ways to Get the Whole Family in Shape!

Family Game Night

This may seem corny for some, especially teens, but give it a go anyway. Experts say it works if you incorporate your kids' interests. Rona Renner, R.N., a parent educator, says she purchased a ping pong table when one of her sons was 13 and put it in the living room. "We just needed something to do together that we both enjoyed. When he turned 13 and entered junior high, it felt like overnight we just had nothing in common," she reflects. The times playing ping pong were "precious" as it helped them reconnect and just have some fun.

Family Dinner

Columbia University's National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse found that teenagers who eat with their families at least five times a week are more likely to get better grades in school and less likely to have substance abuse problems. It's important for kids to learn at an early age that dinner is a time to communicate with others at the table and to share stories of the day.

Try These Lifechanger Healthy Lunch Recipes!

Volunteer at School

I know this is a hard one for some. It may not be feasible to volunteer often at your children's schools, but if possible, find out all the different events and activities with parent involvement and sign up for one. Dipping into your kids' worlds at school opens up a host of things to talk about.

Sleep Talk Therapy

Can't squeeze-in quality time during the day? Try it at night! That's right. Sleep talk therapy is becoming recognized by experts as a way to reinforce your love and encouragement with your children. A child hears differently in a sleep state, and once you introduce yourself as his/her parent, your child rises into an alpha state of sleep where he can hear you, but doesn't wake up. Read "Connect with Your Children While They Sleep" for more details.

Laugh with Your Kids, Relieve Stress!

Limiting 'Kids' Exit Strategies'

I call these the zone-out toys. For some it's video games, for others it's online chats; Facebook, texting, watching TV or other solitary activities that keep kids away, silent and in their own worlds. Put limits on these and offer up fun activities to do together when possible. Again, base these activities on their interests!

A Family Pet

If you have the space and finances, a family pet, like a dog that needs to be walked every day, is a great way to bring unconditional love, silliness (and activity) into the family. Will Courtenay, Ph.D., author of "Dying to Be Men," said one of his clients tried this strategy with great results. "A mom who was struggling with getting her adolescent son to open up, recently told me she decided to get a puppy -- which she knew her son would like. The two have since been able to connect more deeply with each other, as they both care for their new addition to the family."

7 Ways to Boost Sibling Harmony

Stay Present and Patient

It's hard to connect to a parent who has his laptop on his knees at all times, so try to leave your work behind when you're at home and hanging out with your family. Experts say carving out family time -- even if just for an hour in the evening -- sends the message to kids that they are important, and in turn will make them feel comfortable to come to you for advice.

Another article for inspiration: Stay Connected: Family Fun That Doesn't Cost a Fortune.

For more life-changing information watch Dr. Drew's Lifechangers everyday at 3 and 3:30 PM on the CW. Find out what channel it's on in your area.

More from Dr. Drew's Lifechangers:

Poll! Spanking: Harmful or Effective?
New Trend in Pregnancy: Pregorexia
Bed-Sharing Myth Debunked!