Do you want your children to communicate with you more at the dinner table? Here are some tips to encourage dinner conversations with your kids:
5 Tips for Encouraging Dinner Conversation with Your Kids
- Go beyond “How was your day?”I find that asking this open-ended question results in one of two answers: good or fine. Kids usually don’t elaborate beyond that, so we try to ask more specific questions about their day. For example, we’ll ask questions such as, “What did you guys read in class today?” or “What’s something interesting that happened today?” Usually that gets them thinking about their day enough that they’ll start to share more details.
- Talk about your own day.What better way to encourage conversation than by modeling it? Sharing about your own day helps your kids understand that as adults, we also have ups and downs in our days. My husband and I will often share what happened in our day, what we worked on, where we went, etc.
- Share the good and bad.We know that not every moment of each day is always good. We have moments of frustration, anger, sadness, or a variety of other emotions intertwined with the good parts of our days. It’s good for your kids to share those ups and downs as well as hear your own. Each night, we share our good and bad as a family. We call it our “rose and thorn” time (rose=good of the day; thorn=bad of the day) and each of us shares one particularly good thing about our day and one not-so-good thing.
- Get them to imagine.Asking questions that get your kids thinking is a great way to have a fun conversation at the dinner table! From silly questions like “If you were a superhero what power would you want to have?” to more practical questions such as, “How would you get food if you were stranded on an island?” they love having fun debating and discussing! Be sure to add to the conversation by giving your own thoughts to such questions; often times, your answers will inspire deeper thoughts from the kids.
- Ask about the people in their daily life.It’s likely that your kids are with other people for the better part of their days – teachers, friends, and coaches – they all interact with our children regularly! Asking your children about those interactions or what’s going on with their friends can often provide a peek into your child’s daily life. A lot of times in sharing about others, it opens the door for further conversations.