A parent/child journal: The book is full of prompts where each person is responsible for writing a response to the prompt. Borrowing from the explanation online, “The prompts invite you to exchange heart-to-heart thoughts, swap stories, share dreams, and explore common and unique interests and perspectives”.
A parent/child art journal: The book is full of prompts where each person is responsible for drawing a response to the prompt. The object is the same as with a traditional journal – just a little more fluid and fun for your artsy kiddos.
What I love about the traditional and art journals, is the option of exploring the responses. It allows for bonding on how you have each handled similar situations, how its impacted feelings, shaped behaviors, etc. It also allows for your child to feel heard without the every day questions. Because, we all get the, “nothing happened” when you ask about school, right?
In terms of the after school conversations, I tend to get silly with it. I have found that asking the traditional questions get me nowhere. So I say things like, “whose nose did you pick today at school?”, “Did your teacher fart during reading today?”, etc. Mainly gross things – I’m kinda gross. Usually they laugh and say NOOOOO but end up telling me about their day. Tricky trickster mom stuff happening here.
I have two kids and they are night/day different. The art journals available for the “mom” child relationship just weren’t going to cut it for my youngest, B. Aside from not being aesthetically laid out in a way that she would appreciate, they were a little aimed at older children. The art journal available for a “dad” child relationship were more in tune with her aesthetic vibe and the layout of the prompts were so much better for her age group. I also appreciated that the dad version had an area specifically for self perception. Bonus: it has conversation starters!
When I told a close friend that I was doing this she was pretty excited. She had made her own art journal with her child long ago! So, don’t think you have to stay the course of what’s available out there. Do whatever makes you feel the most connected to your kiddos in a way that is natural for you!
Starting a project or a new hobby together, perhaps something that fosters cooperative work and communication. A quilt? Collecting coins? Metal detecting?
Start a story journal together. One of you can be the writer and the other the illustrator or vice versa. You would be surprised to find how much of your kiddos actual life happenings end up on those pages.
Work in the community together. This will bring together a little bit of everything – cooperative work, communication, talking about your life/whats in it when you are faced with the differences between your home and the community.
OR, just talk! Talking works for a lot of people. I’m personally a fan of it. Just keep those communication lines opening. Sometimes our kids tell us things that we don’t pick-up on because we are too busy listening for something else. They don’ t always share with us in a straight line.