Tips to Get Your Kids to Talk to You

children and technology Oct 19, 2018

by editorial team and Sophia Ruan Gushée


The internet can seem scary. Especially for parents.

The prevalence of cyberbullyinginappropriate content, and information thieves create challenges for parents trying to keep their children safe.

However, an environment that is open, honest, and nonjudgmental can encourage your children to tell you what might be bothering them. It is also key to staying more aware of their digital activities, providing you with more opportunity to you catch “red flags” sooner rather than later. This connected relationship is the most effective way to keep your children safe and well.


How To Get Your Kids To Talk to You

1. Talk early and often

With your goal being a connected long-term relationship, the sooner you nurture an open, honest, and supportive relationship, the better. And starting when they are toddlers is not too early! Make frequent "dates" to connect.

With topics that may not be age-appropriate, less may be more. Just answer questions with facts, and keep responses to risky topics bite-sized, sharing just what answers their questions and is relevant to them. Your goal is to nurture trust and intimacy, so they feel that you are on their side. This takes years to cultivate and establish. And it's never too early or late to start.

2. Pick the right time

The best conversations with children often occur when you are naturally spending time together: at dinner, cleaning dishes, before bedtime, or during long car rides. So plan on making the weekly time to be around them, even without a planned activity.

3. Open up

The best way to encourage your children to open up to you is for you to start. Share your concerns and struggles, and how you worked through them. 

4. Create a safe-space

A big goal should be to have your child feel heard, seen, and known. Be mindful of reacting in ways that may lead your child to feel judged, wrong, or scolded. Aim to be a calm and compassionate listener, and appreciate that they are sharing (even if it's upsetting updates)!

When they start talking, hold off on asking your questions. Listen first. When you do ask questions, strive to make them feel safe and supported (even if something is wrong).


What To Discuss With Your Kids

Using the tips outlined above, consider talking to your child about these topics::

1. Online reputation

It is important that your child understands that any online activity creates a “digital footprint” that can last forever. Discuss being careful about what they post, and treating people with kindness and respect, like they would face-to-face.

2. Critical thinking

Some online users create fake profiles to trick children into doing something they otherwise wouldn’t. Discuss online dangers, so that they can be informed and critically assess what they see online.

3. Personal safety

Create strong passwords for every account in order to keep personal information secure. Discuss what information should and should not be disclosed online in order to maintain personal safety. Show your child what a good, safe profile looks like.

4. Dealing with online issues

Cyberbullying and inappropriate content are common. Your child should be aware of when and how to report these issues, both online and offline.

5. The good parts

Talk to your child about topics they enjoy. It's more likely that kids will open up once they start talking about topics of interest. Ask about their favorite apps, games, and sites, as well as what’s popular among their friends. This can help parents to stay aware of their child's digital lives. 


Final Thoughts

The internet doesn’t have to be scary. Creating an open, honest environment for discussions can help parents stay involved in your child's digital activities and identify concerns early. Work on having your children feel that they can ask and tell you anything, and you will still love and support them.

Talk to children early, often, and during times when you’re naturally spending time together. Open up to your child and share things about your own life. When they’re ready to talk, refrain from interrupting with questions. Instead, listen to what they’re saying to create the feeling of a safe supportive conversation. Discuss online reputations, critical thinking, personal safety, dealing with online cyberbullying and inappropriate content, and the good parts of online activities.

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Ruan Living simplifies a nontoxic lifestyle through its Practical Nontoxic Living podcast, free detox workshops, online D-Tox Academy, and transformative 40-Day Home Detox. It aims to help you avoid toxic chemicals, heavy metals, and electromagnetic fields (EMFs) from what you buy, own, and do— without compromising your joy and convenience. Ruan was founded by Sophia Ruan Gushée, author of the bestselling critically acclaimed book A to Z of D-Toxing: The Ultimate Guide to Reducing Your Toxic Exposures and several detox workbooks. A graduate of Brown University and Columbia Business School, Sophia has served on the Brown University School of Public Health Advisory Council and Well+Good Council. A popular nontoxic living speaker, consultant, and teacher, Sophia lives in New York City with her husband and three daughters. Her passion for empowering others to enjoy nontoxic living began with the birth of her first daughter in 2007. Everything she creates is a love letter to her children and for the healthiest, brightest future possible. You can learn more here: Sophia’s Impact.


This article is for informational purposes only. This information is provided “as is” without warranty.

It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. We do not offer medical advice, course of treatment, diagnosis, or any other opinion on your conditions or treatment options. To the extent that this article features the advice of physicians or medical practitioners, the views expressed are the views of the cited expert and do not necessarily represent the views of Ruan Living.

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