It is not always easy to do that with soccer practice and crazy work schedules, but making it a priority has guaranteed that we connect as a family every night. I have learned more about my children at the dinner table than any other place, and I look forward to our nightly conversations.
Early on, we established a few rules to make sure that dinner time was enjoyable for everyone. For instance, if it has a cord, it has to be turned off. Cell phones, TV and other electronic gadgets are the only unwelcome guests at our dinner table!
Everyone must use their best table manners. My husband and I believe that manners are taught at home and are used everywhere, not just out in public. Also, everyone has to talk, and everyone has to be a listener. Once the rules are established, you are ready for some fun!
Here are a few ideas to get the conversations started:
- Conversation Cup. I bought a wooden cup at the craft store and covered it in scrapbook paper to make it pretty. I wrote questions on Popsicle sticks and placed them in the cup. We pass the cup around the table, pull out a stick and answer the questions. Some questions are silly, some are serious. They are guaranteed to get the family talking!
- Telephone Game. Remember being a kid and playing Telephone? One person starts the story, and each person at the table needs to add more to it. The sillier, the better. Little kids love this one!
- Trivia Time. This is a personal favorite at our house because we are very competitive game players! Buy a box of trivia question cards for kids (or steal one from your junior version of Trivial Pursuit). We take turns asking each other a question. I keep the box on the table, and we pass it around during the meal. The kids love to give me the sports questions because they love to stump me.
- Who Am I? This game is really fun to play. Each person at the table has to give you clues relating to the person they have chosen. The person can be a family member, historical figure or anyone at all. The guessers only get yes or no answers, so they have to be very creative with their questioning.
- Theme Nights. As a kid, my mom was big on a theme night. Valentine’s Day dinner was fancy and included apple juice in champagne flutes. Mexican night meant someone had to wear a sombrero. Italian night, well, we listened to Sinatra and she brought out the red checked tablecloth! Having a theme and changing things up makes dinner fun and encourages conversation.