Sometimes just the thought of that word can bring dread into a parent’s heart. After all, dining with young ones is never quite the relaxed experience. Spills and noise can often fill a young family’s mealtime.
But, what if we chose to utilize mealtime in a way that got our kids talking and interacting with us? What if we used the time to have faith talks with our children? You do have a somewhat “captive” audience during mealtime.
Studies have shown that sitting down and having meals as a family help children to do well in school and avoid risky behaviors. As author Miriam Weinstein explains, “Sitting down to a meal together draws a line around us for a brief time and strengthens family bonds by shutting out the rest of the world as a powerful ritual against the many forces pulling us apart.”
So how can we get our kids talking during mealtimes?
1. Start off by praying for your meal. Have you and your children take turns praying before your meals. This is a great way to model prayer for your children and also to encourage them to begin the habit of praying.
2. One informal way to start conversations with your kids is to play the high/low game. Go around the table having members of your family tell what their high and low of their day was. Another way our family asks this is to say, “What was the best thing about your day, and what was the worst thing about your day?” This is a great way to find out about everyone’s day.
3. Find a simple devotion book. This is a great time to lead your family in a small, simple devotion before, during or after your meal. Mealtimes and bedtimes are great, practical times to have faith talks with your children.
4. To learn more about what is going on in your children’s lives, put some questions together for your family to ask each other. Conversation starter questions like, “What is your favorite color?” and “What is something that makes you happy?” are great questions to get conversation started during mealtimes. Pinterest has great ideas on how to make your own conversation starter kits.
To further explore some mealtime ideas, check out these resources!
The Surprising Power of Family Meals by Miriam Weinstein
150 Quick Questions to Get Your Kids Talking by Mary E. DeMuth
The Hours that Matter Most by Les & Leslie Parrot
Dinner Table Devotions by Nancy Guthrie
Website: TABLE GAMES