Ask your kids these questions at dinnertime!Experts tout the value of the family dinner. What's more important than what you're serving? Some suggest that it's what you're doing with that family time. When my husband, three daughters, and I sit down together to discuss the day, whether we're eating a bowl of chili, a rotisserie chicken, or a pizza from the local carry-out, these questions help our family stay connected.
How was recess?
My daughters love to talk about recess. I used to ask about their favorite part of the day, but I eventually realized that they always wanted to answer with "recess!" So instead of asking them to skip over what was obviously one of the highlights of their day, I've learned to embrace it. If you have young kids, as what they played, who they played with, and what they hope they can do tomorrow during recess.
What would you do with a million dollars?
Don't stick to questions about today's math test or tonight's homework. Recent lottery jackpots had my husband, young children, and I all anxious to discuss what we'd buy with our jackpot winnings if money were no longer something we had to worry about. Get creative!
Did you hear any good jokes today?
My middle daughter is the queen of the (not-so-funny) joke. Sometimes I don't know what's funnier -- her delivery or the punch line. Asking the girls to share any funny jokes or stories they have puts a smile on everyone's face around the dinner table…even if the jokes themselves aren't as funny as the kids think they are.
And then what happened…?
Is the conversation lagging around your family dinner table? Are your older children not interested in sharing too much with mom and dad? Consider playing a storytelling game during mealtime. Come up with a fun story-started sentence (example "Once there was a dog who loved to juggle sandwiches."). Then turn to the person next to you at the table and ask, "And then what happened?" See how long you can keep the conversation going!
What should we do this weekend?
My daughters love offering suggestions for the upcoming weekend. Sometimes they want to suggest a movie, which is totally do-able, or sometimes they start planning a beach vacation or trip to Disney World. Whether you're planning an imaginary vacation with your elementary school kids or getting excited for the football championships with your high school student, there's something to be gained from discussing the upcoming weekend with your kids around the dinner table.
Did you learn anything new today?
Of course, you may get answers like, "I learned to add two digit numbers together!" or "I learned about the letter 'z'." You may also get fun answers like, "I learned that you can't buy things at the grocery store if you forget to bring your wallet." Encourage creative answers with a choice of dessert for the best answer!
What questions do you use to encourage conversation around the family dinner table?Content by Kelly Herdrich.