Years ago, a friend said to me: “I’m looking forward to some ‘car-time’ with my husband. It’s where all our best conversations happen”. After I was married I realised that she was indeed right. There is something about side-by-side conversations, without the intensity of looking into each other’s eyes. that liberates us to speak freely. It’s equally as useful when dropping a colleague home or driving my children back from school.

My heart’s desire is to be intentional (not accidental) in my relationships; especially with those I love the most. Six months ago I read this great article about sideways listening and it fuelled my mission to find the best activities for a bit of side-to-side spilling of the beans, as a wife, parent, aunty, God-mother and colleague.

Family psychologist Dr Rachel Andrew says: “Generally, I would recommend 10 minutes of child-led activity every day. There are all sorts of enjoyable activities that lend themselves to sideways listening, such as arts and crafts, baking, running and other physical activities you can do together. The aim is make this into a habit as your children will know that they can rely on this time with you and that it’s all about them and how important they are to you.”

As the holiday season is upon us, here is one idea that generated some wonderful sideways conversation with my daughter. If I’d just hit the sun-lounger with my book I might never have heard how she truly feels about going into Year 2 at primary school.

What is your favourite activity for a bit of sideways listening, either with a colleague or a family member? I’m always after new ideas.