Family dinners are important. They are not always possible, but we do make it a priority in our home. Along with eating together we use this time to talk to each other and have interesting conversations. These talks are actually the most important part of the time together I think. Over the years when T has had friends over they have been shocked that we sit down together and really talk. I see this when we go out to eat as well, other families all sitting together but not really interacting with each other.
There are many different ways to start conversations at the dinner table if it is something new to you. Even if you do already talk regularly at dinner these ideas and tips might spark some new conversations that you and your family will enjoy.
- Three Good Things
This is a favorite of mine. Each person at the table has to state three good things about their day. It gives us all insights into what happened that day, what makes each other happy, and helps all of us have a more positive attitude. Read my original post about Three Good Things.
- Did You Know…?
We actually play this game at dinner, in the car, or whenever. Everyone just states any random fact or information that they want. For kids this is actually fairly easy once they get used to it because they often have tons of miscellaneous facts from their day at school. These facts have inspired long conversations, trips to the library, and new hobbies over the year in my family.
- Ask Specific Questions
The standard “how was your day” is often met with “fine”. Instead ask more specific questions that require more than a simple answer. For kids you might ask about what they learned in science class or what they did at recess that day. For adults ask how the meeting went that morning or how they did at the gym that afternoon.
- Topic Cards
There are several different companies that make cards with questions and conversation starters on them. You can purchase these or even make up your own. One company I have heard a lot about is Table Topics (I’ve not used their product myself though). If you prefer to make your own consider printing them out and cutting into strips, then placing in a jar and have someone pull one out. I have two posts on writing prompts that actually would work well for this. 83 Teen Writing Prompts and 77 More Teen Writing Prompts. Even though they say teen, many can be used for all ages.
- No TV or Tech Devices
This is really important to help the conversation flow. Turn off the TV, even if it’s in the background and no phones, tablets, gaming devices, etc. at the table.
- The Family Dinner Project
There is also an organization, The Family Dinner Project, that has a lot of great resources on their site including conversation starters and other fun activities centered around family meals.
Do you make it a priority to have dinner with your entire family? What kinds of things do you talk about at dinner?[signoff]
© 2015, Robyn Wright. All rights reserved.