Ways to Cultivate Family Conversation at Meal Times

Ways to Cultivate Family Conversation at Meal Times

"All change in America begins at the dinner table"

-Ronald Reagan

So you finally have dinner on the table and you want this to be a time of cultivating family conversation, but what do you say? What if they don't respond? Keep reading, because we have some tips and tricks that are sure to get the dialogue started! 

Establish a conversational atmosphere.

First of all, you need atmosphere. Remember when you were dating your spouse and they took you out somewhere nice for dinner (I know it may have been a while ago, but try and go back)? Think about the room, the lights, the sounds...the atmosphere. It was set for you with candles, gentle music, and close seating. Why? So you could connect. You were compelled to speak to one another because you sat at a little tiny table that required face to face time, in a dim room that demanded you only see him, with romantic music that didn't distract.

family meal

Similarly, you can set the atmosphere in your family dining area. Here's how:

1. No technology. Have a basket somewhere outside the room where silenced phones go (yes, even mom and dad's). 

2. Candles (or lowered lights if you have littles) to create intimacy and a calming mood.

3. Serve food family style and teach your children to serve their plates (so parents aren't constantly up and down getting things).

4. Turn on some instrumental worship or classical music in the background. 

Do these four things consistently to set an atmosphere of calm and intimate dining with your own family each evening.

Come prepared with questions.

If you want to have dialogue, you need to be ready to ask the right questions. There are a few ways to to this. 

Rose, Thorn, Bud - 

Going around the table, each person shares a rose (a goal met, a positive outcome, or a joyful part of their day), a thorn (something they wish had gone differently or didn't like about their day), and a bud (something they are looking forward to or plan to do the next day). 

rose, bud, thorn

This type of sharing helps families know what it going on in the lives of each member. With little ones, you can even pass around a fake rose so they know each part and know to listen to whoever holds the rose. 

Would you rather?

This is the age old conversational game that has been a hit on the hiking trail, at bedtime, and on long car rides in our home. Also, it works at meal times! It's all about choices and hearing what each person would choose and why opens up so many neat conversations.

- Would you rather meet Moses or King David?

- Would you rather eat a snake or eat liver?

- Would you rather be in a freezing cold room or a very hot room?

The variations on this are endless and so adaptable for various ages and topics. 

Prayer & Praise

Another way to include conversation and dig deep during meals is to ask for one prayer request and one praise from each person at the table. Doing this can open up doors for conversation as well as help parents know how to strategically pray for their children. 

Cultivate family conversations with our freebie.

You can grab our FREE PDF with example questions, games, and more so you are ready to go during your next meal!

If you would like a plethora of ideas, please check out our Meal Time Conversation Starters.

meal time conversation starters


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