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4 Tips to Get Your Kid Talking

You'd love to know what your child did in school today, but all she'll say is "Nothing." What's the key to getting her to open up? "Everybody needs a chance to catch her breath at the end of the day," says Lisa Asta, M.D., a pediatrician in Walnut Creek, CA. Sure, some kids chatter away when they get home, but most are exhausted and need a break. So give your child one, let her recoup, and then try these tips:

Be specific
Ask more targeted questions: "Did you get to choose a new story from the book bin today? Which one did you pick?" or "What games are you playing in gym class this week?"

Try not to bombard her
When she says, "I didn't get to play on the monkey bars today," avoid launching into an inquisition. Just respond with "The monkey bars?" so she knows you're listening, then let her continue.

Acknowledge her feelings
Just saying "I see you're excited about something" or "You seem awfully tired this afternoon" might give her the springboard she needs to tell you about her day.

Keep it casual
Many kids find it easier to talk when your attention isn't focused solely on their words, so converse informally while you make dinner or walk the dog together.