(Last Updated On: May 25, 2021)

We’ve all heard the research: Eating dinner as a family is really important. As in, families who eat dinner together have kids who fare better in all sorts of measures including mental health and well-being. But what do you do once you get your family to sit down and eat? Knowing what to talk about and how to go about doing it can be frustrating. What if dinnertime conversation goes like this:

Parent: “How was your day, honey.”

Kid: “Fine.”

Crickets….

– or –

Parent: “EAT YOUR DINNER!”

Kid: “I hate this food!”

Not very satisfying.

The other day my kids and I were thinking of ways to jump start dinner conversations and came up with a fun project.

Check it out: We started with a different colored piece of paper for each member of the family. Then I had the kids cut their piece of paper into multiple pieces. The kids then wrote a question to be read at dinnertime that each member of the family would answer.

The only requirement was that the question could not be answered with a “yes” or a “no.” For example, instead of “Do you like pizza?” a better question would be: “What’s your favorite kind of pizza?” Here a few examples of the questions I wrote:

  • If you won $1 million what would you do with it?
  • What’s your biggest fear?
  • What’s your favorite house style? (We have some serious HGTV fans in my household. My answer: Dutch Colonial.)

It wasn’t as hard for my kids to think of questions as I thought it might be. Even my preschooler got into it, drawing pictures instead of questions. The jar of questions now lives next to our kitchen table, ready to be used. And honestly, this little activity has been WILDLY popular with my 3 kids.

They love all answering the questions and hearing other people’s comments. Best of all, it’s gotten us talking about things we wouldn’t otherwise, and it gives even the quietest among us a chance to have their say.