I found a great time to "talk" with my kids when they were growing up. It was at bedtime. You see, they have so much to say and do before bedtime, they forget the really important stuff. When they know that this is the last thing that they will be doing before going to sleep, they will be more focused.
We had our time around the dinner table chatting about school, sports, and funny stories and reminding them about homework and chores. But when they were being tucked into bed, they began to unwind, which allowed them to share about the fun, the hurts and the concerns of school, life and their friends. I found out so much about my children at bedtime. How they viewed life. Who and what they were concerned about. How does God see and hear everyone? And so on. As they became teenagers, this lead to sharing about their friends, their dates, their choosing of a college or their just lying across our bed to just chat.
We need to model openness, honesty, compassion and communication in front of our children so they will continue these toward us as well as in their families.