What are the best dinner conversations to start with kids at the table?
Having raised 9 kids, the dinner table was always an important part of the day. A big part of my job was to start good and encouraging conversations. I came up with a lot, but looking back, I am wondering if I missed some "good" ones. Any ideas?
I would love to hear some of the questions you used. I only had three children but my own childhood was steeped in energetic dinner conversations and we continued the tradition. I found we would go from what are the current music/dance trends ( to keep somewhere near the loop) to current events/politics and my favourite were and still are challenging different philosophical concepts....atheists believe there is no God...is this possible? etc. My brother and I still get into vigorous discussions and my kids, all grown now, jump in enthusiastically. No family gathering is complete without one round of energetic and often loud debating.
The best conversation with kids at the dinner table should be Rewarding topics, such as behavior, social attributes and positive feedbacks regarding options and decisions pertaining to the topic. I have three children at 15,13,12 years old and the opening is always rewarding. Example I like or love what you did or planning to do to make a positive difference in what ever ideas or opinion and answer to a specific topic.
We, too, enjoyed/enjoy our family dinner conversations. The topics covered a wide range of ideas. Interesting news, catching each other up on our activities while we were apart, philosophical and existential questions, international and science developments, extended family plans. We also made it a group decision and effort to decide what to give for gifts for birthdays and holidays, and that was always a fun topic.
We also used this time to get to know each other better so we'd pose questions about what their likes, dislikes, favorites, etc. When they were young, we'd ask questions that helped their understanding about their school subjects (history, etc.) If they could invent a new animal, what would it be? What they would do if they were president/king? What do they think is the best form of government and why? As they grew...choose a social world problem to solve and how would they solve it (hunger, poverty, global warming, water shortage, AIDS, cancer, human trafficking, etc.).
Remember that those parlor talks spurred many a revolution throughout history. Start them early to develop the thinking and reasoning process. And most important: teach them to question everything.
I agree with Jaclyn. My parents always asked us to talk about what happened, both good and bad. If we struggled with something, we talked as a family about how to work through it. If we had a high point, we celebrated it together.
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