The talking game

Use this fun game to help your family talk about some tough subjects and create healthy conversation.

People from strong families share their feelings, concerns, and interests. They take the time to listen and respond to what others have to say. They practice a style of communication that is clear, open and encouraging.

A great activity to build on this is the "Talking Game." This family activity can be used in any setting. It can be part of mealtime, used on car trips, part of your bedtime ritual or when you are camping, whenever you are together as a family.

The first step is to create the questions. You are going to create questions that are set up by categories such as age-appropriate, for the parents, general questions and difficult questions. Here are some examples to help you get started.

Questions for parents might be:

  • What is it like to be a grown up and not have to do what people tell you to do?
  • If you could go back and relive one day from your childhood, which day would it be? 

Questions for teenagers:

  • When you have teenagers of your own, what kind of parent do you think you will be?
  • Why do you think some teens think it is cool to drink alcohol?

Questions for elementary school kids:

  • What would you like to change at your school?
  • If you could give your parents some serious advice about raising kids, what would you tell them?

Questions for very young children:

  • What would you do if you could stay up all night?
  • What do you think grown-up people do for fun?

 Questions for everyone:

  • What is something you worry about?
  • Describe something other people do that makes you angry?

Difficult questions:

  • Do you think it is all right to tell a lie?
  • Why do you think some people tell jokes about people who are different from them?

Encourage members of the family to add new questions to the mix.

The next step is to agree to some general rules. Examples might be to not make fun of, criticize or put down one another or a person has the right to pass on a question.

The last step is to create a small box or folder that is portable to keep the questions in so when you find a perfect time to do the talking game you are ready to go.

For more information on family activities and communication, visit Michigan State University ExtensionMSU Extension offers a variety of educational programs throughout the state. To find a program near you contact your local MSU Extension county office.

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