Special Family Time with Dinner Discussions
Some of my best memories as a child include sitting around the dinner table with my siblings and parents, sharing about our days and laughing over a meal. Knowing I had this precious family time each night was an anchor for me, providing me with a sense of stability and support. With our busy lives, there weren’t many other chances to all be together.
But We’re So Busy These Days!
Unfortunately, families today tend to be busier than ever. Children’s schedules might include tutoring, multiple sports practices, playdates, homework, and music lessons. By the time children get a break, they often collapse from exhaustion, zoning out in front of the TV or iPad. With parents’ busy schedules as well, it might seem impossible to find time to all sit down together.
Overloaded with Technology
According to a CBS News article, children age 8 to 18 currently spend an average of more than 7 hours a day on screens. The recommended limit is 2 hours a day. While some screen time can be educational or relaxing for children, too much can limit their time interacting with family members (among other negative impacts). Too often, a child might be glued to a screen during dinnertime. Due to this, they lose this critical family bonding time.
The Importance of Family Dinner Discussions
Without a shared dinnertime, parents and siblings might have almost no time to check in with each other at all, save passing by each other in the halls or spending time in the car together. Yet, even time in the car might be spent on a screen. This is why a screen-free dinnertime is so important for family connection.
When families connect through conversation, they learn about each other and are able to check in with each other’s feelings. Even more, children learn by imitating the behavior of others. When their parents model prioritizing family time and connecting to others, children will learn by this example and bring these skills into their own relationships and adult lives.
What to Say During Dinner Discussions?
Let’s say you’ve dedicated the time to sit down for a screen-free dinner, all together. Now what? How do you get children to become interested in conversation and share in a thoughtful, engaged way? Have you ever had your child provide one word answers to your questions. For example, “How was your school day?” with the response, “Fine.” While asking about your child’s school day does show that you care, this question might not be the most exciting question for a child. It’s also likely a question a child’s heard many times. We encourage you to think outside the box when asking children questions, sparking their imaginations and creativity.
Foster Engaging Dinner Discussions with Our Dinner Dialogue Cards!
We’re here to help! We’ve designed Dinner Dialogue Cards with interesting, silly, and thoughtful questions that will have your child opening up and having fun! You’ll learn more about their likes and dislikes, as well as scenarios that have come up in their lives that they may have never opened up about before. These cards create a lively discussion for the whole family, allowing the adults to also open up and share in new ways. Before you know it, your family will feel more connected and will build memories you’ll have for a lifetime.