Do you ever have this scenario? Spend an hour in the kitchen creating dinner (or any other meal), trying to allow little hands to both help AND not burn themselves warranting a trip to the hospital. There’s a lot of flinging of olive oil, veggies on the floor and falling off stools. And then it all appears on the table, kids plates first, then adults and just as you eat the first bite someone needs something. “Where’s my drink?” “I need a napkin”. Bless it all. Dinner time is not for the faint of heart.
But (!!) family meals are one of my favorite times of the day. I grew up in a family that prided itself on conversation, especially around the table. As we grew older we spent many long hours discussing books, theology, politics, doubts, and the best doughnuts at the beach and where to find them (here, by the way).
As a grown up, it’s super important to me to eat dinner with my kids during the week. I do try to eat several meals with my kids, but dinner time is special because it’s when all of us gather together at the end of the day. With littles, I’ve got it much easier because I don’t have to deal with dance schedules, sporting events, or homework. I can imagine I’ll be struggling a lot more to prioritize family meals when my kids are 13, 11, and 9.
I truly believe that so many good skills and attitudes come from eating dinner together. And while I realize that this isn’t a possibility for every family every night of the week, I strive to make this a priority and a habit in our family relationship.
So I’ve compiled a short and sweet list of some of my favorite family meal conversation starters. (And yes, sometimes I do refer to this list because I’m introverted and after talking all day my brain completely blanks on all the words).
- How did you feel loved today? How did you show love to others?
- What do you think about Jesus?
- What is one interesting thing you learned today
Other options to consider, depending on the age of your family:
-If you had a superpower what would it be, and why? (We get a lot of laughs when we include our dog Jenny in this question)
-Do you like special presents or one on one time with undivided attention? (We change these questions out based on the five love languages).
-If you had unlimited money, where would you go?
-If you had unlimited money, what would you do to help others?
-What is your favorite song?
You don’t have to limit these conversation starters solely at dinner, or even solely while you’re eating. These can be done anywhere-while you’re driving in the car, while you’re out on a walk, while you’re strolling the aisles at Target. The point here is to talk, it’s connection. It’s finding common ground and putting in the hard work building relationships.