I have noticed over the last few years that my son likes to talk about complex topics (curse words, body parts, girls) when we are in the car or in another situation in which he doesn't have to face me. I am fine with this - I want him to talk when he feels comfortable, and I can completely understand how the having-to-face-your-mom bit could make him clam up.
So, it makes perfect sense to me that communication between parents and children increases when you are taking a walk outside.
I am well aware that the study on that link was specific to little children (three- and four-year olds), who were still learning to be good respondents within a conversation.
But, as any parent who has tried to have a conversation with an eight-year-old will tell you: Children need a lot of conversation practice. It is not unusual for my son to walk into a room and start a conversation in the middle - as though we had been conversing for hours about a subject already. It's (evidently) my job to determine what that subject is and to catch up.
So, I am more than willing to take him outside for a walk, so he can be grounded in the fact that conversations need a little exposition to get started.
And, who knows, maybe all that walking side-by-side will make him comfortable enough to open up about the tough topics with me and then they won't seem so tough.
How do you help your child's conversation skills develop? Tell me in the comments.