Building a Relationship with your Conversation Guide

Often at the beginning of the GGK training week, we find participants feeling uncomfortable with the concept of the conversation guide. At a recent training, one home visitor mentioned that visiting with a family using a conversation guide seemed more formal than her normal interactions. GGK trainer, Zoe Lemme, uses the analogy of dating. “When you first start dating, the interactions feel formal…You don’t have inside jokes or a level of comfort, but with time a relationship develops and you feel comfortable. Likewise, once you develop a relationship with the GGK conversation guides, your comfort level grows and the formality disappears.” So let’s spend some time this week, thinking about how to use GGK modules to guide your conversations with families.

You will recall that each conversation guide has been very intentionally embedded with Strength-Based language and communication tools, layered to encourage critical thinking, while motivating and inspiring growth. They are intended to be personalized and used interactively. Using a conversation guide is both an art and a skill. With practice, feedback, and reflection it will become easier to use them emergently and tailor them to the circumstances and responses of each family.

When you either read or paraphrase information or ask a question that is embedded in the conversation guide, it is important to listen to what the parent has to say and respond accordingly.

Here are a few ideas for personalizing a conversation guide and tailoring it to each family’s circumstances. “Special Ingredients” you might add might include:

  • Use of one of the GGK Action Tools (e. g. ATP’s, Problem Talk, Normalizing, Explore & Wonder)
  • Exploring the bulleted items in an in depth manner…”Diving Deep” like a sea turtle
  • Touching back on a GGF or GGK Replay (e.g. What I’d Like for My Child, Our Family Values)
  • Mentioning to the parent that maybe you will just briefly touch on a portion of the Module, because you have already discussed that information or maybe you have seen the parent putting that skill into practice
  • Looking at the Table of Contents with the parent to find ideas about where they would like to go during future visits
  • Starting with or transitioning to “Getting in Sync,” “Ready for Play,” or a Child Development Activity (This works especially well with teen parents)

Just a few additional points to remember as you prepare to use the conversation guide during your next visit:

  • Be sure to read through the module ahead of time.
  • Think about 2-3 learning objectives you will be most focused on.
  • Consider how you will encourage the parent to think critically and creatively.
  • Where might you include additional Solution-Focused/Problem Talk questions based on what you know about family members?
  • How will you foster the growth of secure attachment relationships?
  • How will you create joyful parent-child interactions?
  • Place a sticky note in your guide to remind you where you might want to pause and go more in depth with this family.
  • Where in the module will you touch back on the family’s values, interests, cultural practices, and traditions?

Don’t forget that there are reminders and suggestions for Accentuating the parent’s Positives. When using those prompts, be sure to make them your own.

Recent Posts

Giving Yourself (and Others) Grace

“Can I play the drums again?” they asked. Without giving it a moment of thought, a “no” came out of my mouth. It wasn’t the most convincing ‘no’ ⸺ more of a feeble reaction to the extra effort this activity would require when my patience was already thin. To this child, that no from their warm-hearted aunt sounded negotiable, and the lure of the shiny drum kit won over.

read more

Messy Fun Makes Healthy Brains

As I settle in to write this evening, the blue sky is fading to dark, and the evidence of a busy day lies scattered amongst my home. Stacked dishes fill the kitchen sink, toys decorate the living room floor, and dirty laundry overflows from every hamper.

read more

Growing Resilience

 Why am I talking about trees, you might wonder? Well, yesterday’s incident got me thinking about how unexpected storms can also come up in life, and if we, our families, and our communities are healthy and resilient, we’re in a better place to withstand these pressures and thrive.

read more

Share a Meal…Spread the Love

March is finally here! If you’re like me, you’re eager for this month to arrive. I’m happy to welcome longer days, warmer weather, and a brand-new season. One of the ways my family celebrates the budding trees and blooming flowers is by firing up the grill. You can often find us stacking shish kabobs with colorful peppers, slices of sweet onion, and juicy chunks of pineapple.

read more

Beautiful Bonds Last a Lifetime

Almost a decade later, when I reflect on this memory, I can still feel this parent’s presence. At that moment, nothing else mattered in the entire world to this parent. It almost seemed as if time was standing still. Looking back on this memory, it’s obvious what was happening right before my eyes. This parent was fully present with their infant. A secure attachment relationship was forming.

read more

Walking Your Talk

I paused at the entrance to the trail, double-checking that I was prepared for the unknown.  Water, check.  Shoes tied, check. Trail map, check.  I took a deep breath and my first steps into uncertain terrain.  Equal parts eager and apprehensive. 

read more

Growing Great Kids®

Why Choose Great Kids?

Never any recurring licensing fees

Proven Success

Over 37,000 people have been trained to use the Great Kids curricula

Protective Factors – GGK Constructs

Research informed constructs embedded in the Protective Factors Framework

Alignment with Head Start

The Growing Great Kids Home Based Curricula Series exceeds all Head Start Curriculum requirements

Evidenced Based Research

As evidenced by seven independent evaluations, the GGK Curriculum produces outstanding results

Specialized Training Programs 

On-site and virtual training options available

Healthy Families America

The Growing Great Kids curriculum aligns with and builds upon the HFA model approach