By now, you must have heard about the value of eating dinner as a family. It is a valuable time during which families bond and share. If your dialogue ever gets mundane and you’re looking for a “pick up”, you might choose some of these topics to create new discussions.
1. Pick a current news story that is appropriate for your kids. Ask them what they think about it. What would they do to solve issues or problems, or create better circumstances? Done regularly, you will train your child’s brain on “thinking and problem solving”.
2. Have every member of the family share the best and worst part of their day. Push further to assess for what learning can come of these situations, how to repeat successes or make changes.
3. Ask your kids what they would do with a million dollar cash prize. If they stop at all the materialism, you could ask them how they would use the money for kind acts or philanthropy. Help expand their thinking beyond their own little world.
4. Introduce a word of the day and its meaning. Ask everyone to come up with a (humorous if possible) sentence using the word.
5. Ask them who their least favorite teacher is. Find out why and ask your child how they would do things differently if they were teaching. This will give parents a bird’s eye view into the classroom.
6. Ask your child who they ate lunch with. After you get the names, go deeper and ask your child what they appreciate about the person. Avoid asking what your child would change about another person. The only person your child can change is themselves and the sooner they learn this the easier they can manage their own life and stop fighting useless battles.
7. Ask your child to share interesting points in a book they are reading. Ask them to share why they find it so interesting. Sometimes parents can learn about new interests that impact their child. As new hobbies or interests emerge, parents can find new ways to support their child.
It is important for each person to have uninterrupted time to express themselves. It is also vital to respect each other even if there is disagreement. Parents can reinforce good ideas and challenge perceived weaknesses.
Most importantly, keep it light, have fun, and enjoy your dinner.
Keyuri Joshi (pronounced Kay-yuri Joe-she) is an Atlanta-based Parenting Coach and author of the On The Ball Parent blog. We are lucky to have her!
Amber @ Nater Tot
This is a great list! My son is only 11 months old, so I can’t put these into action yet. But I’m saving this list for when he’s old enough to appreciate the dinner conversation.
Jean Tracy, MSS
I will certainly use these great ideas. I’m always looking for conversation starters.
Since we often see our grandchildren on the weekends for breakfast, we ask everyone to name one thing they’re proud of this past week. They don’t have to have been successful, they just needed to try. We all learn things about each other we wouldn’t have known otherwise. It helps us appreciate each other too.
Thanks ladies! I always enjoy Keyuri’s contributions. I also want to let you know that on the Resources Page (http://whatkidsneedtosucceed.wordpress.com/resources-for-parents/more-resources-for-parents-products/) there are several additional (free) products to support your mealtime conversations!
Great ideas here, and especially around the importance of sharing and communicating consistently at the dinner table. Just the concept of learning effectively communication skills to make children comfortable expressing them selves with no expectations allows them to be creative and have self esteem.