Here are a few hints that seem to be effective:
1. Show respect.
How would you feel if you were involved in something, and somebody suddenly demanded to have an in-depth conversation about something entirely different. Learning to choose the right moments to talk shows respect to your kids. Let them finish that game or drawing. Then make your move.
2. Establish a regular time and place.
Maybe it’s dinner time, but whatever time or place you choose make it regular and the same so your kids know what to expect. And get rid of all distractions, television, ipads, phones, etc etc. Don't be satisfied with asking, "How was your day?" Go the extra step to open lines of communication.
3. Get creative.
How was your day? Is a fine question; it's just bland. Try to get creative. Spice up the questions a little bit:
• Tell me something unusual that happened today.
• What was the most amazing thing that happened at school today?
• Complete this sentence: My day would have been more exciting if...
This last one is fun but may lead down the road of discussing other things like school, friends, and other stuff.
You could also have your kids write their own questions. Place their questions in a bowl and have each person draw a question to answer. For more fun, play the "Telephone Game." Have a child privately share something about his or her day and then pass it on. When it gets back to that child, see how much the original "conversation" has changed.
4. Be specific.
Instead of the general question, ask about specific relationships. Ask about tests. Ask about what you talked about the previous night. Show your kids that you not only care, but also that you remember. To do that, you have to listen, and then discuss what's been talked about before.
5. Have fun.
Sometimes the day really was just fine. That's fine — even if you don't want it to be. It's during those fine times that you can branch out and talk about upcoming family events, holidays, and other stuff.
In the end, the conversation is about reminding your children that their first outlet can and should be their parents as our first outlet is our Father, who always listens and cares.