After seeing all of the research showing the benefits of eating together as a family, you think it is a good idea to do this with your family. You make a meal and gather everyone to sit at the table. That part goes okay. Next, as everyone is eating, you try to start a conversation with your kids, and it goes something like this….
“What did you do today?”
“Did you learn anything new in school?”
“What did you play during recess?”
“I don’t remember.”
Sound familiar? Over the years, I often encountered this situation. The constant prodding and cajole just to get the kids to open up during dinner time got old real fast. So I discovered some tricks to get the kids to look up from the food on their plate and start talking.
The Good and the Bad Game
This is always a sure winner in our house. The kids have to say one thing that was good about their day, and one thing that didn’t go exactly right. It’s an easy way to figure out more of their worries like if another kid is being mean to them or if they are struggling with a subject in school. Plus, I always love hearing about what they thought was the best part of their day. It is not always the answer I thought they would give!
Talk About Your Day (Then Let Them Share)
This is an easy one. While I might think my life can be boring, it always surprises me that the kids can use a fun story from my work to relate to something in their lives. Plus, if I am going to make them share, it is a good example for me to talk about my day also.
Word of the Day
I once heard of someone giving their kid a word they had to use sometime during the next day. Then, at dinner time they would have to report back about how they used the word in a conversation. It’s a way to get the kids to talk at dinnertime, and improve their vocabulary…win!
Talk About Their Interests
This one could require a little bit of advanced planning. If your children are in to a certain sport, find out a trivia tidbit about the game to share during dinner. Or if they love visiting a certain place, get them talking about planning their next trip. Discussing things that kids already want to talk about can make the conversation much easier.
And if all else fails…Threatening no dessert if the kids do not start joining into the conversation, works every time!
I’m Frances. I am a mother, a wife, and a community volunteer. I work as a scientist by day and moonlight as a blogger. Making lists helps me keep everything on track. While I have a good life, there is always room for improvement. Join me as I decorate, organize, and try new things over at my blog Improvement List.
Image courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens.