10 conversation starters for kids at the dinner table
Tonight my husband and I went to a conference at a church. The conference was called Real Parenting and it was great (and so funny!) ! I wanted to share a tip that was shared tonight that I agree with. It is so important for any family: Eat dinner together.
The speaker talked about the importance of having dinner together. He said that they aim for 4-5 nights a week. I loved how he said:“It isn’t easy.”
Its easier to drive through a fast food restaurant somewhere and let them eat in the car to “get it over with”, as he put it.
Its easier to have dinner with the TV on.
Its easier to feed everyone separately, what they want, when they want it.
In a family, we do what will benefit the family, not what is easy. (Remember, even if you get take-out, you can eat it with your family, where you are sitting at a table, focusing on each other. ) If you are curious of the average number of nights a week that a person cooks, check out my post on How many days a week do you cook?
Anyways, tonight, the speaker even said that he had to have his children miss a basketball practice or be late to a practice because they were having a family meal. One time, he dropped his daughter off late to practice and saw her running extra laps and as he sat and watched, he knew the reason: she had had dinner with her family that night.
Dinner is important because it gives you a chance to connect with your family. Your phones are off, you are not taking calls or sending texts. You are not in separate rooms or focusing on anything except each other and your meal together.
Do you ever find that keeping up a conversation at the dinner table is hard with young kids? “How was your day?” gets a one-word answer. We need to dig deeper.
For this reason, we had to start doing a question and answer game at our table. We have been doing this for several years now and we look forward to the answers as much as the kids look forward to them (they like to hear their Daddy’s answers the most!) It really works and our kids talk a lot more when they have something to say that is interesting to them!
Here are a few tips for you to get the conversation flowing at your table:
1). What was your favorite part of the day?
2). What is the funniest thing that happened today?
3). What is your favorite car?
4). If you could go anywhere, where would you go?
5). What’s your favorite TV show?
6). What do you want to do this weekend?
7). How are you going to spend your cotton balls (see my cotton ball reward system here)
8). What is your favorite book (and why)?
9). If you could be any animal, which one would you be (this is a conversation starter, for sure. They love this one!)
10). What do you want your next birthday party to be about? (It could be 12 months away and they still talk about it!)
We go around the table and ask these questions to each person. It keeps the kids focused on each other and they are enjoying being at the table. It is hard for them to wait their turn, but its also a great way to teach them NOT to interrupt. (that’s really hard to do!)
If you find that it is hard to eat dinner together, check out this post that I wrote (Eating Dinner as a Family) on the alternatives that have the same results as having a family dinner!