“How was your day?”
“What did you do?”
“Where did you go?”
“What’d you have for lunch?”
“What would you like to do tonight?”
“I don’t care.”
“Uh, nice talking to you.”
Sound familiar? After a busy school year, mealtime conversations can screech to a halt in the summer. This is especially true with age. The older kids get, the less they seem to want to share.
To combat dull dinner discussions, families need conversation starters that will:
1. Interest everyone
2. Promote healthy growth in their children
3. Strengthen family relationships
4. Develop children’s communication and critical-thinking skills
5. Force kids to say more than two words at a time!
Below is a list of 20 mealtime conversation starters from five sources, including Suite 101, Conversation Starters, Fatherhood and Great Schools. Hopefully they’ll spice up the family’s table talk this summer.
1. What is your favorite thing we do together as a family? Why?
2. Describe your perfect day. Where would you be, who would you be with, and what would you be doing?
3. What was the nicest thing you did for someone else today? What was the nicest thing that someone else did for you today?
4. If you could ask God one question, what would it be?
5. What are the qualities that make a good friend?
6. How did you use our word of the day? (One dad introduces a “word of the day” each dinner. He defines it and asks his kids to use it the next day in a conversation. The kids share at the next family dinner how they used the word, then get a new word.)
7. Does our family seem too busy? What should we change to be less busy?
8. How can our family pray for you this week?
9. What were the highs and lows of your day today?
10. What’s the funniest thing you heard, saw or happened to you this week?
11. What’s one thing you learned today?
12. What three blessings are you most grateful for? Why did you pick those three?
13. What was the best thing that happened to you today? The worst?
14. As a family, let’s think of 10 ways someone can show kindness to others at home, work, the neighborhood, church or school.
15. In 60 seconds, tell us as much about your day as you can.
16. Describe your perfect day, from the time you wake up until you go to bed.
17. What was your favorite family vacation? What did you like about it?
18. What are some ways we can serve others as a family this summer?
19. It’s time to play 20 questions. (Select a theme the day before: state capitals, animals, etc.)
20. What’s your favorite _____ (animal, book, movie, fruit, dessert, song, etc.) and why?
Creative conversation starters can liven up family mealtime discussion as well as conversations that take place between parents and kids as you prepare the meal.
mealtime with toddlers
Tailor your mealtime conversation starters to age-appropriate levels. With toddlers, you can use mealtime to teach them new words, emphasize manners, sing songs — you name it!
kids having dinner with parents
Conversation starters can make family meals a wonderful and cherished time of bonding, laughing, learning, caring, sharing and growing closer together.