Monday, May 20, 2013

Creative Dinner Time Conversation Ideas

This is the second post in this dinner time series and this topic has become so dear to my heart. I can already see the value of it within the lives of my own children and I truly desire to help others achieve this result as well. So, today I want to share with you several ways that we keep the conversation going and keep everyone engaged during dinner time.

My family - fall 2012
1. Have daddy ask each child what they did that day and then let them talk uninterrupted. This is great practice for children of all ages. Children must learn to be able to tell events in a logical order and to put together sentences and stories that others can understand and enjoy. And this gives them a "safe and non-judgmental" place to learn and practice these skills.

2. Start a make-believe story and have everyone add to it. I am sure you have seen those movie clips or even done it when you were spending time with friends. One person starts a story and then each person gets to add to it when their turn comes. It can be a fun way for the creative juices to flow and will also give the smallest guys something to listen to while they eat. And my little guys always eat better and stay at the table longer when they are engaged and have something to focus on.

3. Play a Bible review game. We often use dinner time to review Bible lessons, Bible facts, memory verses or even Godly character lessons with our children. The Bible commands us to train our children and what better time to pour into their lives the Word of God than when they are all seated and "captive" already.

4. Create a basket of questions that can help get the words flowing on those nights that no one seems to have anything to say. Some of the questions we routinely use are -
  • What is your favorite color?
  • What is your favorite Bible person?
  • Who are you praying for right now and why?
  • What is the best book you have read lately?
  • If you could pick what our family did one day together what would it be? This has led to some great ideas/plans for upcoming family outings.

Sometimes even dinner table conversations can't
keep a sleepy toddler awake!
5. Ask about their schooling. This one is particularly helpful for the homeschooling momma as it gives her a chance to check on retention and mastery but even if your children attend a government school or even a private school the best way to keep the lines of communication open is to start early and talk often. Check to see what they are learning and how much they remember and understand. Conversations can be really fun and educational especially if you can find a topic in science or history to discuss. Children think it is great fun to "wow" their parents with facts that they know. You might even find that they dig a little deeper and pay closer attention to detail in an effort to have something to tell about around the dinner table.

6. Use a printable tool to help.  There are several great printable tools out there that would be a fun change to choosing the dinner time conversation. You can check out my Pinterest Board HERE with lots of great ideas and free printables and seasonal and holiday themed ideas to get you started.

But most of the time we all enjoy our dinner time together.

I hope that this has encouraged you to start making family dinner time a priority in your home. And to make it more than just an obligation for your family, start some fun conversations to get to know your children more and to help keep those lines of communication open for the years to come.

Written by Happily Domestic contributor - Amanda Sikes

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