Dinner Table Talk with Kids

The table is where we mark milestones, divulge dreams, bury hatchets, make deals, give thanks, plan vacations, and tell jokes. It’s also where children learn the lessons that families teach: manners, cooperation, communication, self-control, values. Following directions. Sitting still. Taking turns. It’s where we make up and make merry. It’s where we live, between bites.”  -Doris Christopher

Pairing great food with great discussion is somewhat of a dying art on the home front.

Research shows that having a few family meals with your kids, even if it’s only a few times per week and for under 30 minutes each time, can significantly reduce childhood obesity, depression and make your family more connected.

As a general rule, the best table discussions are natural and sprinkled with humor. Don’t get so caught up in trying to train your kids on various topics and professions and miss the opportunity to connect with them and what on their minds. Tune into them and use their interests as a springboard for discussion.

“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

Before you share your dinner table talk with kids, ask yourself:

  • Is this gossip?
  • Are we focused on ideas?
  • Does every person’s opinion get equal attention?
  • Do you try going around the table so everyone’s voice is heard?
  • Do you draw out the quieter child?
  • Is there collaboration in making family plans?
  • Does one person dominate the conversation?
  • Do you discuss your own areas of expertise may it be a hobby or profession?
  • Are you always negative when you talk about work?
  • If so, do you allow your negativity to permeate the table discussion?
  • Are you passionate about a certain topic?
  • Do you encourage questions?
  • Do you allow kids to challenge your ideas or the family’s status quo?

Common questions parents ask for dinner table talk with kids:

“What about kids’ sports schedules that keep them away at dinner?”

Once a week of dinners on the run is inconsequential, but if conflicting schedules mean your family can’t sit down at least a few times during the week for dinner, it’s worth some creative thinking. Can the schedule be changed so that you all eat earlier or later? Can a child switch to after-school rather than evening activities? Can you all at least gather together for fruit and tea before bedtime so that you get some family time that evening? 

“We eat together, but we eat in front of the TV. Does that count?”

Does it make you feel more connected to your family? Not as much as a conversation, I suspect, so the short answer is No. Unfortunately, most modern families routinely watch television during dinner, indicating how challenging it is to make dinner fun and relaxing when everyone is pressured and tired. It can be a lot easier to turn on the TV at the end of a long day than to interact with your kids. But eating in front of the TV builds your relationship with the screen, not with each other.

Think about writing these followings questions on a pieces of paper and fold them, put the pieces into a jar and each night when you are having dinner together 1 person gets to pulls out a piece of paper to discuss:

Dinner table talk with kids and questions to talk about:

  • What do you want to be when you grow up?
  • If you could travel back in time, what time would you visit?
  • What would you do if you found out your closest friend was using drugs?
  • What is one goal you have?
  • What are some good ways to overcome feeling sad?
  • Where is our family meeting place in case of fire?
  • If you could have any pet, which would you chose?
  • What would you do to make the world a better place?
  • How would you most enjoy spending your birthday?
  • When should you call 911?
  • What is the last dream you remember?
  • What makes someone a good friend?
  • What is your favorite subject in school?
  • If you were given a million dollars to give away, what kind of organization would you give to?
  • What is the hardest work you have ever done?
  • What is your favorite dessert?
  • What is your favorite part of the day?
  • Have you ever stuck up for someone being picked on?
  • What should you do if an adult politely asks you to help him find a lost pet?
  • What is something you did to help someone today?
  • What is the best part of being a part of our family?
  • What’s your favourite family tradition?
  • If you could have any wild animal in the world as a pet, which would you choose, and why?
  • What are you looking forward to most during holidays?
  • What’s your favourite book and why do you like it?
  • What’s the first thing you would do if you were elected Prime Minister of Australia?
  • If you could be a superhero, what kind of power would you have?
  • If you could be an explorer, what area of the world would you most like to explore?
  • If you could choose your own nickname, what would it be?
  • If you could invent one thing to make life easier for people, what would you invent?
  • If you could plan the kids’ menu for a restaurant, what dishes would you serve?
  • If your friend was sick, name three things you could do to brighten their day.
  • If you were asked to organize an excursion for your class, where would you take them?
  • What are some meaningful ways to show love to others?
  • If you had a time-machine, would you go to the future or the past; and why?
  • If you were to write a book, what kind of story would it be?
  • What’s the best way to spend a rainy day?
  • How do you think we could become closer as a family?
  • If you could celebrate your birthday in any way you like, what would you do?
  • What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received?
  • Who are your heroes?
  • What do you think is the best way to make friends?
  • What’s your best family memory?
  • Who is the funniest person you know?
  • What would you like to be better at?
  • What’s your favourite thing about Grandma and/or Grandpa?
  • What’s the most courageous thing you’ve ever done?
  • If you could learn a new skill or talent, what would it be?
  • Do you want to have a family of your own someday? Why or why not?
  • What’s the best dream you’ve ever had?
  • Who is your best friend and what makes him or her so special?
  • What do you think your biggest fear is?
  • What’s your favourite hobby or interest?
  • What’s your funniest joke or story?

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Kasey Hannan photo

Wife to a hunk of a man, mother of two incredible daughters and nuclear physicist (Not really but sometimes I feel like I should know everything)











Raising Healthy Kids Today by Kasey Hannan

Skype: kaseyhannan

Email: kasey@raisinghealthykidstoday.com
“Let’s Raise Great Kids Today So They Look After Us When We Are Old, Yes There Is A Method To My Madness 😉 ”

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