In Part 1 and Part 2 of my series on Calming Dinner Time, I’ve outlined all of the new strategies we are implementing for a happier family dinner. All except one: The Dinner Time Conversation Box.
The Dinner Time Conversation Box came about after realizing we did not have meaningful conversation at the dinner table. We were missing a prime opportunity to learn something about our kids and have them learn about us!
I happened to have a little treasure chest looking box that we had used for our dog’s medications (which have since been relocated. I’m not in the habit of drugging my kids). The kids think it’s this awesomely mysterious thing. I’m a little surprised they haven’t bust out in “Yay! Hay! Well done crew! Everyone knew just what to do!” a la Jake and the Neverland Pirates. I opted for simple rather than fancy and just wrote questions out on a plain piece of paper, cut them out in strips, and folded them in half and then in half again. I wanted it to be easy to add to without too much of a process.
I headed over to one of my favorite time-sucks, Pinterest, and searched “Family Conversation Starters”. The questions I picked were varied, and the ones you are drawn to might be different from mine, but here are some of the ones I came up with:
- Do you know how much your family loves you? How can you tell?
- What is your favorite book?
- How would you describe God?
- Is it ever ok to lie to protect someone’s feelings?
- If you could decorate your room any way you wanted, what would it look like?
- How would your friends describe you? How would your family describe you?
- What are 3 things you are good at?
- What are your goals for the future?
- What is hard about being a kid today?
- If you could go on a family vacation anywhere, where would you go?
- What would you like to learn how to do?
- Would you rather spend the day with the Easter Bunny, The Tooth Fairy, or Cupid?
- What is your favorite family tradition?
- What is your favorite holiday?
- Which teacher/coach has had the most impact on you? Why?
- What things scare you?
- If you won $100, what is the first thing you would do with it?
- How are you a good friend?
- What is challenging about living in your family?
- What is the most beautiful place you’ve ever seen?
- Who is someone you look up to? Why?
We’ve only used The Box a couple of times, but the kids BEG for it! As we use it regularly, I’ll encourage the kids to come up with their own Box questions to add, because there are some questions that don’t really beg to be asked over and over (like which mythical figure you’d like to spend the day with, for example.). Also, as we dwindle the question supply, I’ll be searching for more to add to keep it interesting!
We’ve got some “rules” about the Box too:
- We take turns picking a question. Some questions can be asked of the whole group, but the person who picked the question answers it first.
- Some questions go back in The Box at the end of dinner, and some are one-time questions.
- You need to be actively eating to get a turn to pick a question, but your mouth needs to be empty when you are talking. This encourages the kids to keep eating. No one likes to miss a turn! And it’s a way for me to say to Middle “Eat a bite, quick! Your turn is coming up!”.
When we use The Box, dinner may take a full hour, but the kids are happy to be there! (we let Little out of her seat if she needs to be excused).
What questions would you add to a Dinner Time Conversation Box? Comment Below!