As children's ministers,
we know the importance of communication. What we say and how we say
it can make a world of difference to our kids. But how do your kids
communicate with their parents, and vice versa? I was shocked when
I found out just how much time kids and parents spend talking with
each other. I believe you will be shocked as well. (Go ahead and
take a guess…how much time do parents spend in meaningful
conversation with their kids per day? I'll tell you in a little
Most experts agree that family conversations bring so many
benefits. Livestrong.com claims that when kids talk with
parents, they have better family bonds, a stronger vocabulary,
higher grades, and are at less risk of substance abuse and peer
pressure. One of my co-workers can speak to the family bonds part.
He recently told me his family's motto is "expectation without
communication will lead to frustration." He knows the importance of
talking to his kids and letting them know what he expects of
OK, have you made your guess yet? Let's see how you did.
According to A.C. Nielsen Co., the average parent spends
38.5 minutes per week in meaningful conversation with their
children. That is a sad 5.5 minutes per day. That's less than the
amount of commercials in a standard television show! The average
family couldn't even mute the television during ads to talk about
what happened during the day.
Getting families to talk can be a difficult task, but it's
definitely a rewarding one. Here are five products and websites I
found that you can suggest to your parents that may give them the
gift of gab with their kids.
- I'm a big gamer. I love board games. And I truly believe that
family game nights can bring parents and kids closer together!
Check out Rory's Story Cubes. They're small, but they can
pack a creative punch. In a nutshell, you roll the picture cubes
and then come up with a story using what you rolled. Of course,
creativity is the name of the game, and if you find a different way
to play, then go for it! Quick and small, this is a great
recommendation for families who are looking to talk more with each
- Take the fun of a beach ball, mix in funky designs and fun,
interesting questions, and you have the Throw & Tell Balls. Toss the ball,
and whatever question your thumb lands on you have to answer.
Different balls have different themes such as "All About Me,"
"Prayer," and "This…or That?" If families want to play while on the
go, there is also Children's Ministry Talk Starters App out now at
the Apple App Store and the Google Play store. Also, check out the
- Perfect for a game night with families that have kids ages 7
and up, Magic Feather by Wiggity Bang is fun for fun's
sake. Players take part in a scenario such as getting to the ice
cream store as quickly as possible while doing funny and creative
stunts to move their characters around. According to the website,
the game "helps develop creativity and imagination; helps build
problem-solving, story-telling, counting, reading, and map skills;
encourages physical activity; and exercises the sense of
- When I was little, I found a copy of The Ungame in the
back of a family member's closet. I didn't understand the
non-competitive game; everything else I played always had to have a
winner! I'm glad to see it's still going strong. The Ungame is all
about getting to really know who you are playing with. It's a
simple game; just move and answer a question about yourself.
Families will enjoy learning things they never knew about each
other, and there's even a Christian Ungame that adds questions to
the original pack that deal with faith and beliefs.
- An independent nonprofit, Common
Sense Media helps to inform and equip parents to make healthy
media choices when it comes to their kids. The website posts
reviews for new movies, games, websites, TV shows, music, books,
and apps. Not only can parents find out what other parents are
saying about the different types of entertainment, but many reviews
come with questions families can talk about afterwards. The modern
family might be glued to the computer and television screen, but
now you can help families use them has a tool for talking.
5.5 minutes of talk a day is just not enough. We need to
encourage and equip our parents to spend quality time with their
kids and open the doors to communication. A little time spent now
will mean the world to them later.
I want to hear how you get your families talking! Leave a
comment below telling us how you have helped parents connect with