Monday, April 6, 2015

Dinner Starters Between Kids and Parents

They just had a lot of research done on how important it is to have family dinners and get dialogue going with the kids.  A vendor happened to send me this information and I wanted to share with you.  The link has great conversation starter for all different ages so check those out as well.  Hope you enjoy!

Dinner Dialogue
image: family around dinner tableCommunication between parents and kids has never been easy—in fact, one aptly titled parenting book first published in 1957 was called, "Where Did You Go? Out. What Did You Do? Nothing." If you need a little help getting your family to talk around the dinner table, here are some helpful facts and ideas to get the conversation going.

Fact: Family dinners are good for you!Many scientific studies over the past 15 years confirm regular family mealtimes are good for the brain, health and morale of all family members; lower rates of substance abuse, teen pregnancy, depression, obesity and eating disorders; and lead to higher grade point averages and self-esteem.

Build a strong foundation. Children are easily discouraged by disinterest, disapproval and distraction so avoid checking your voice mail or email during mealtimes. Make dinner the exclusive domain of your family, and take time to set the stage for your kids to show them you're willing to give as much, or more, of what you're asking of them. Set the example and focus on the short time you have together.

Use conversation starters. Even young children want to be recognized and included in dinnertime chitchat. While sometimes a simple, "What did you do today?" will result in a great conversation, usually kids need a gentle nudge to get things going. But even teens can be lively conversationalists (just ask their friends!) with only a little encouragement. Test a few of the conversation starters below:
  • "What can your favorite toy or cartoon character do that you'd like to do?"
  • "If you could be an animal, what would you want to be, and why?"
  • "What was the most memorable dream you've ever had? What happened?"
  • "If you had three wishes, what would they be?"
  • "What's the craziest thing you've ever eaten?"
  • "Did anyone read anything interesting online or in the newspaper today?"
  • "If you could have one person over for dinner, who would it be? What would you talk about? What food would you serve?"
  • "Do you know how your parents met?"
  • "Do you know some of the lessons that your parents learned from good or bad experiences they had when they were kids?"
  • "Do you know some of the jobs that your parents had when they were young? What would you like to do for a job when you grow up?"
Check this link for more great conversation starters for all ages.

And remember, you can encourage your children to speak up when you speak humbly and unabashedly. Revealing an embarrassing or challenging experience can help your children realize it's okay to open up.

Sources: The Family Dinner Project, Purdue University Center for Families

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