Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Dinner-Time Hugs

Have you ever sat down at the dinner table with your partner and children and realized you were eating in complete silence? Do the typical "How'd your day go?" questions just seem to come to an uninspired end with responses like, "Fine," or "Good," or "Nothing new?" Well, here are a few fun suggestions to liven up the table and even bring a few smiles and giggles to those faces.

1) Sports Fans:
My 7-1/2 year-old boy is a sports fanatic. I enjoy sports very much, but I definitely don't follow them like my husband and son. So, in effort to broaden my player vocabulary, we go around the kitchen table naming hockey players, A to Z. From Antti Niemi, to Sidney Crosby, to Jonathan Toews, I have learned more about the game of hockey from sitting at my dinner table talking to my family than watching 6 years of the San Jose Sharks'. All of us enjoy calling out a name and hearing the others surprise us with a new one. We play the same game with football players. We also quiz each other on professional players' jersey numbers!

2) Together, Tell a Story:
No, not Mom. No, not Dad. How about Mom, Dad, Brother, Sister and everyone else sitting around the dinner table? Turn it into a game! One person starts off the story with a "Once upon a time, there was a little boy who loved to sit in his bedroom closet," or "Once upon a time, there was a lonely princess in a castle." The next person makes up a sentence. Then, the next, and the next. Go around the table, each person adding their own idea to the story. Your children will be bright-eyed and anxiously awaiting the next detail. The only challenge you may have is that they may get too excited and have to be reminded to eat! If that's the case, guide your story toward a child who doesn't eat their dinner ;)

Share with us your own stories for creating a meal-time experience that will be cherished in your and your children's hearts and minds, and carried over onto the next generation of dinner tables!


  1. Those are some great ideas! When we sit down together we share the "best" and the "worst" thing that happened to each of us that day. The boys know they can't say that the best thing was recess repeatedly! It is a fun way to facilitate conversation that everyone can take part in.

  2. We ask, "What was your favorite thing you did at school today?" to engage our children in conversation about their day. We've found we get more colorful responses than if we ask, "What did you do at school today", which could result in, "nothing", or, "I don't know". We also ask our children who they had lunch with, what games did they play at recess, or who they played with. This allows them the opportunity to discuss not just their educational experiences in the classroom, but their social environments as well.

  3. Love the sports idea! That sounds like my bro and nephew:) We talk about the best and favorite part of our day as well as a part of our day that was not so great or that we hope will be better tomorrow. With two girls it seems difficult, most of the time, to get a word in edge-wise! Oh how different boys and girls are. We also cherish the time we all actually get to have a meal together and at the same time! Working full time and having evening activities oftentimes makes weekday meals together few and far between.