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Honest Mum and kids

We recently tested out the brand new Alexa Skill – ‘Yak Talk Back!’, an interactive story experience which provides a supportive environment where children can express their feelings whilst developing their social, conversational and critical thinking skills.

It offers a new solution to an old problem: getting kids to open up about their feelings, dreams and needs.

Engaging , fun and entertaining, ‘Yak Talk Back!’ is designed for children aged 5-12 (my sons are 7 and 10) and encourages families to spend more time exploring their feelings. We’ve found the tool invaluable here, particularly as we collectively try to navigate the choppy waters during lockdown and this current crisis.

My boys, like most kids, oscillate between being openly expressive and talkative (usually at 100 miles per hour) to the complete opposite: shy guys, lacking in confidence. ‘Yak Talk Back!’ has enabled them both to become consistently vocal.

Despite being an educational and developmental tool, because it’s presented in a game-like format, the children don’t feel like they’re learning or practising important life skills. The experience feels organic and natural and just flows, especially when we use it over dinner or over breakfast on a weekend, when we have more time, as we have here.

‘Yak Talk Back!’ features the friendly and funny Yak along with original music and sound design to serve as a catalyst for conversation – helping families to meaningfully connect rather than rush through dinner or the day.

Ever had those mumbled long lunches or silent dinners, struggling to engage your kids to speak, then this is what you need.

 Listening to Yak! Talk Back

You simply ask Alexa for the ‘Yak Talk Back!’ tool and Yak will kicks off a conversation with you, sharing his thoughts with you. His thoughts change every day to keep conversation fresh.

So far, he’s discussed his day with us, his favourite grilled food and what he wants to do when he grows up.

A conversation starter, Yak has asked my kids about their own dreams and aspirations. They both want to be YouTubers when they’re older, suprise suprise, and I’ve learnt that corn on the cob and hallumi skewers are their go-to favourites from the grill.

Yak is a positive character kids can model and has been created with the assistance of learning experts. Yak is helping my boys to hone, only their conversational skills but also their listening skills, too. My children are learning how to truly listen with Yak, to not speak over one another and really think about their answers.

A wonderful outcome has been seeing their confidence increase as they become more adept at clearer communication and expressing their opinions.

I was fascinated to read Reel2Media Co-Founder Mike Thomas’ inspiration behind this transformational tool,

‘Like many parents, I struggled to get my kids to open up and talk to me about their day and technology was often part of the problem. Studies show that children under 14 now spend twice as long on smartphones as they do talking to their parents! As a father, I needed a solution. I realised we could take the technology we’d been working with – the very thing which often acts as conversational barrier – and turn it on its head. Yak uses technology ‘for good,’ to help families like my own engage more with one another and that’s a result.’

Amazon Alexa

Well, it gets the thumbs up from us.

Since using the tool, Xander has opened up about his confusion over the school closures and his worries for when school reopens. He misses his friends, and isn’t sure he ever wants to fly again.

Together, we’ve explored his fears and made a list of all the things we feel grateful for today, right now: our health, the love we share and of course, our favourite food.

Having a discussion

child

Child eats breakfast breakfast child smiles during a conversation

Thank you Yak for encouraging my kids to talk back (in a good way). This tool helps speaking up become a habit.

We snapped these photos over breakfast but you can use ‘Yak Talk Back!’ at any time.

Currently available in both North America and the UK, ‘Yak Talk Back!’ can be accessed and enabled from the Amazon Alexa Skills Store now. Or simply say “Alexa, enable Yak Talk Back!” to start the experience.
It’s good to talk, but it’s even better to Yak!

This is a paid post but as always, my words are honest.

 

Excitingly, you can win an Amazon Echo Dot Smart Speaker With Alexa worth £49.99. 

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Ends 12th June 2020.

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137 Responses

  1. Kerryn farrow

    I’d love to win this for my son – he’s obsessed with our downstairs one constantly asking Alexa everything!

    Reply
  2. Kerry Horsburgh

    I would love to use this with my son to learn random facts and we’d dance around to music.

    Reply
  3. Tracey Hallmark

    The Yak tool sounds a great way to keep the children engaged in conversation

    Reply
  4. Aileen

    Sounds great for children and improving conversation skills at the dinner table

    Reply
  5. Gill Mitchell

    I’d love to win for my children. Would be so useful at the moment.

    Reply
  6. Samantha M

    I find these to useful. Our friends have one and the children love it for fun games, and to ask questions!

    Reply
  7. Jenny Jones

    my 2 boys would so love to use this, I showed them and they think its ace

    Reply
  8. Emma England

    This sounds amazing! My son is 5 and he talks non stop or doesn’t talk at all. I love that it helps kids explore their feelings.

    Reply
    • Kerry Horsburgh

      This would be brilliant to make time to chat about things more deeply.

      Reply
  9. Victoria Bazley

    This would be a great learning tool but also a great relaxation tool too.

    Reply
  10. Sammie Martin

    I think this would be a fantastic tool for my son. Great interaction

    Reply
  11. Sallyanne Rose

    I would love to win so I can have my music playing whenever or wherever I want

    Reply
  12. Kirsteen

    The Yak tool sounds fun! I’m sure my kids would really enjoy engaging with it.

    Reply
  13. Laura Whittle

    The Yak tool sounds great for getting my kids to engage in conversation instead of being games console robots all the time. Would love to win the Alexa for my kids so they can learn how to have a conversation together without interrupting each other and get them talking about different topics they may not normally discuss.

    Reply
  14. Priscilla Stubbs

    A great idea I am sure that my granddaughters would love this

    Reply
  15. maria hackett

    what a fun way to spend family time together. This would be fantastc for my 3 girlies, eldest 7 and twins will be 5 this year> YAY!!

    Reply
  16. NikolaNiki88

    Fantastic Gadget, looks and sounds very useful 😍 Thank you very much for the chance 😘 Have a lovely day and rest of the week😉 Fingers crossed 🤞

    Reply
  17. Stev Rigby

    This is something that I believe would be enjoyed by my grandchildren

    Reply
  18. Charlotte Hoskins

    This sounds great for keeping the kids brains ticking and even more important at this time whilst they’re not at school.

    Reply
  19. claire jamie gray

    I would this for the kids!!! It sounds amazing! Thankyou!

    Reply
  20. Kim Neville

    Sounds really cool and my son would totally enjoy using this and talking away

    Reply
  21. Anthea Holloway

    I think this is wonderful and so interesting that children can get involved so well with it.

    Reply

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