This article is about 10 different conversation starters to inspire functional and healthy conversation at dinner so you don’t tear the families hair out. It’s also one of the best opportunities to create happiness and the ability to practice storytelling.
Dinner time can be an absolute nightmare!
One little legend will only eat something if it’s drowning in tomato sauce, the other little legend has been snacking on chips and biscuits all afternoon and now won’t eat their dinner. That’s a lot without adding on the fact you’ve just realised you’re now lactose intolerant and you had a super stressful day at work. The dream of being a happy, healthy family is surely feeling dire…
I remember having dinner times when all everyone did was cry and never want to see a pea ever again. But sure enough, with enough time, effort and bribery, we became exceptionally good eaters.
As you can see, dinner time can be one of the most hair-pulling events, but I also believe it’s the best part of the day to practice communication, gratitude and love for one another.
The whole idea of meaningful storytelling is that it takes its own path and is not strictly bound by a narrow margin. However, in saying that, I’m sure we’ve all heard a story from a 5-year-old that feels like it will never get to the point… a few words of guidance may be necessary to finish it before bed time.
This article, explores the big positives about storytelling at the table and away from the TV is that you are making your little legend feel valued. This ensures they strengthen their own trust and belief in themselves, becoming more self-compassionate, aware and autonomous.
When allowing the conversation to flow, ensure to remove the boundaries of conversation so they can explore expression of emotions and allow for creativity of an answer. This is extremely important for improving their ability at school. It aids in essay writing, story writing and also speeches.
As a general framework I think it’s really important to keep things as simple as possible. To allow a simple question to lead to a range of emotions and storytelling that go any which way.
10 Ideas To Inspire Conversation Around The Dinner Table
- What is one thing you really enjoyed about today?
- What is one thing you wish you could’ve done better?
- What is one significant thing that happened in your day (good or bad)?
- Tell a funny joke!
- Play I spy. “I spy with my little eye, something beginning with ‘P’”.
- Talk about your day.
- Talk about something you’re really excited for.
- Pick a feeling you have right now and explain why you feel like that.
- Say one thing you really like about each other.
- What’s one thing you are grateful for?
How You Can Do It
It can be like herding sheep trying to get everyone to the table at the same time. That’s why it’s important to make it as easy as possible for us all.
Make Dinner A Sacred Place
Remove phones and tablets, turn off the tv and stay as present as possible.
Make an Appointment
I know everyone’s day can vary day-to-day but do your best to set the same time for every night you can. I still hear my mum and dad in my ear when I’m about to have a snack before our 6pm dinner!! (Yes, we ate very early…).
Limit Snacks One Hour Before Dinner
It doesn’t have to be an hour, that was just the rule I had growing up. By the time dinner comes around, everyone is hungry and wants to sit down. If everyone is full and hyped up before dinner, they won’t want to sit down for long and will become disengaged. Put that padlock on the pantry! (Hypothetically…).
Become a Great Communicator
When we want to do well at our job, enjoy a great social life and most importantly, be able to regulate our emotions. It is very essential to be a great communicator. A great way to actually get better at regulating our emotions is not just to do breathing exercises, but actually to tell stories.
If you’ve read my blog about why tantrums occur and how we can better manager them, you should really read it here, Tantrums and Meltdowns – Why It Isn’t Personal, where we go through the art of storytelling to self-regulate emotions.
Using the talking points I’ve laid out above and the many more that you can come up with, will inspire story-telling and become the happy, healthy and purposeful family you want to be.
Until next time,