With so many activities vying for family time, one thing we do not budge on is family dinnertime. At least six nights a week we are all together at the supper table and, although the meal may not get Martha Stewart’s presentation approval, the conversation is always the main dish.
When my oldest two (who are now teenagers) were in grade school and I asked them, “How was school today?” The answer, more often than not was, “Pretty good.” So we got into the habit of asking more specific questions requiring more detailed answers, such as:
- What was something nice you said to a friend today or they said to you?
- Who did you sit beside at lunch? Did you learn anything new about them?
- Can someone tell us one fun thing they learned in science today?
This line of questioning became the springboard of our dinner conversation that led to much deeper and varied discussions. In short order, stories are bantered back and forth that have absolutely nothing to do with the question, but a lot is revealed!
Even more fun is the carry-over to subsequent days when, for example, my eight year old says “I noticed that so and so seemed unusually quiet today so I said, ‘Hey, your hair cut is cool!’ Guess what? He smiled and was happy the rest of the day. That made me happy too!”
Great mealtime conversations lead to precious lifetime memories!
By Karen McNamara