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Top 5 Conversations to Have with Your 4-to-8-Year-Old

Birth2Work Staff, mother

Starting around four years old, kids start to acknowledge and question the world outside of themselves and their immediate experience. They are going to ask someone these questions. When they ask, let them know about you! You are human and feeling and fallible. Engage them with conversation prompted by insights into you. The top five conversations to have with your four-to-eight-year-old:

1

Talk about work

Work is not a bad four-letter word! Talk about why you do what you do, the joys of it, and the challenges of it. What kinds of problems do you try to solve with your work? What kinds of problems does your child want to address in their future work?

2

Talk about fun

What things do you do as an adult—just for you—that bring you joy? Zumba? Basketball? Movies? Gardening? What do you find satisfying about your type of fun? (Being alone? Being with others?) What does your child like doing for fun? Why?

3

Talk about mistakes

Mistakes are how we learn, and no one should be punished for an earnest effort that didn’t turn out as hoped. Talk about mistakes you’ve made in your life and what you learned (age appropriate, of course). What did you do differently afterward? Your child will be relieved (and probably surprised!) to learn you ever made an error and are likely to open up about their own.

4

Talk about your home

Why do you live where you do? In your city? In your specific home? Did you choose an apartment because it costs less than a house and you don’t want maintenance responsibilities? Did you choose a house in the country because you wanted to grow your own food? What kind of home would your child like one day?

5

Talk about your community

Big city or small town … where you live, the people that make up city government and, yes, where the poop goes, are all part of how a community works. Talk to your child—or go to the library and city hall together—to learn about the infrastructure of where you live. No family is an island, and learning about our individual responsibilities vs. what we depend on our neighbors and government for is invaluable. Ask what your child would like to know about. (Yes, probably where the poop goes!)

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