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How To Have Enriching Conversations With Your Child!

With so much going on in the world right now, there are more opportunities than ever to instigate enriching and meaningful conversations with your child. Here's how...

Having dinner table discussions about the news and other relevant real-world issues is a great way to develop communication and critical thinking skills in your child. 

In order to support the development of good habits, you should structure these discussions in the following way...

1) First, raise a topic of interest with your child. 

Start by asking them what their initial opinion is. If your child doesn't know much about the subject already, try finding a short Youtube or Newsround video giving some background on the topic and summarising some key arguments.

Encourage them to structure this using 'PEEL', an acronym we use at Debate Mate to help students structure their arguments effectively. It stands for...

P- POINT- The headline of your argument. It should include a 'why' summarising exactly what your opinion on the topic is.
E- EXPLANATION- As if you're talking to an intelligent alien, answer the following questions: 'why is it true?' and 'why is it important?'
E- EXAMPLE- Contextualise your explanation with a real-world example. Ideally this should be a fact or statistic but could also be a relevant and realistic hypothetical.
L- LINK- Link your argument back to the original topic.

2) Now your child's put forward their own point of view on the topic, it's time to push them to consider alternative perspectives and develop their own opinions. 

To do this, you can use constructive challenging. At Debate Mate, we use the ACED structure to do this.

A- Acknowledge- Demonstrate that you have listened to your child's argument and highlight what you agreed with.
C- Concentrate- Be specific about what you don't agree with/what area of their argument you'd like to challenge them to develop further.
E- Explain- Justify exactly why you disagree with this or why they should re-think an area of their argument.
D- Develop- Share your own thoughts on the topic and suggest alternative points of view.

3) You can repeat this as many times as feels natural, each time pushing not only your child, but also yourself, to further develop your ideas based on what the other has said. 

Over time, this will help your child to develop empathy, be more accepting and open-minded to alternative viewpoints and be more confident in disagreeing with others in a constructive way.

Using this technique, you can teach your child how to have enriching conversations with others about contentious real-world topics.

💡 If your child loves to discuss and develop their points of view in this way, our brand new 5-week course, 'The Great Debates', is an ideal way to nurture this. If you're at all curious, sign them up to one of our FREE 30-minute taster sessions now, by clicking here!