Family eating dinner together

by Schae Richards, community editor 

Can you recall the last pin-dropping moment at the dinner table? Either you don’t know what to say, or the conversation comes to a halt. You could ask those obvious questions like “How was your day?”— or you could just keep quiet. These awkward moments can sometimes make dinnertime a dreaded part of the day. Here are six tips to make the dinner table a fun place to spend time together.

  1. Set the right tone: First consider everyone at the table. Who is there? What do they like to talk about? Knowing your audience will help you keep a strong conversation going. If your family has a hard time starting a conversation, pick a fun theme or topic ahead of time to center your discussion around.
  2. Make it interactive: Make it a livelier conversation by creating question cards or another visual that will help everyone stay in tune. Even a fun story or game can turn a “boring” conversation into a fun family activity. Remember to include everyone. Take turns contributing information and steering the discussion. It’s never fun to listen to just one person.
  3. Ask good questions: Replace some of those standard questions with ones that require a detailed answer. This will set the table for a deeper conversation and will tap into your kids’ creativity, allowing them to think beyond normal limits.
  4. Educate your kids: You can always find teaching opportunities during conversations with your kids. Dinnertime is no exception. Share a personal story with an important message at the end, or do something more formal like choosing a word of the week and taking turns using it in a sentence.
  5. Set a family goal: Take this opportunity to set a challenge or goal. Maybe there’s something you want to improve as a family or want to accomplish within that next week. Then you can report back to each other on your progress. You can also offer some sort of award or incentive to make it more fun for the little ones. Whatever the goal, it gives your family a chance to work toward something and build strong relationships away from the dinner table.
  6. Try something new: Don’t feel like you have to stick to the same routine. Mix it up every day to keep the conversation fresh and exciting. This will help you avoid those I-don’t-know-what-to-say moments, and help you have successful family dinners.