Get your family talking

Family conversation is an art form that is not practiced as often as it was in times gone by. Too often these days, small and big screens distract us.

During dinner at home we may have the TV on, or out at restaurants we may have our phones out on the table. These screens have a tendency to take our minds away from those who matter most.

I can hear some of you thinking, “Our family doesn’t need this. True connection and conversation happens organically and authentically in our family!” And that’s great – I’m happy for you.

In my experience, truly connecting with each other through meaningful conversation, connection and laughter is a treasure – but sometimes we all need a little kickstart to remember how much we value it, or to get the ball rolling. Especially if your kids will be home with you for three weeks straight due to the Coronavirus!

We have several sets of family conversation cards that I love. We have a date night version that I’ll pop in my purse and take out during a romantic dinner. We also have a pack of kid-friendly conversation starters that are great for road trips, long airplane rides or as a way to liven up the everyday evening meal.

There are also free, printable family conversation starters available online – google can find you many more.

Because family conversations are so critical to everyone’s health and well-being, I recently received a fridge magnet with some great family conversation starters from the Nationwide Children’s Hospital On Our Sleeves campaign:

  1. What was the best thing that happened today?
  2. How were you brave today?
  3. Tell me your favorite joke
  4. If you were the dad or mom of this house, what would be your 3 rules?
  5. What do you want to be when you grow up?
  6. How were you kind to someone today?
  7. What is the best thing about school?
  8. When you feel sad, what do you think about to make yourself feel better?
  9. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
  10. If you could have one superpower, what would it be? How would you use it?

For a few years, I used a goofy conversation starter called “high-low-buffalo” where each family member took turns saying a high point of their day, a low point and then a wild card – something weird, wild or crazy they saw or experienced. E and Z used to pretend they hated this, but they always went along with it nonetheless.

I did this enough time with our little fam, and on road trips with friends, that one of Zoe’s friends once texted her, completely out of the blue, “No one likes high-low-buffalo!” Trust me, I thought it was hilarious and wasn’t at all offended. In fact, I still chuckle just thinking about it.

Whatever tools you use to get kids and teens talking – it’s essential that we do it. Time flies by, kids grow up so quickly and before we know it, we’ll be old, they’ll be away at college and we’ll be looking back regretting those missed moments.

Don’t let another family meal time go by without striking up some funny, happy, goofy or inspiring conversations. Maybe take some video, too – unless that would kill the vibe. You know your family best. Mine always tries to vote me off the island when I attempt to video them!

If you have other ideas for family conversation starters or fun family bonding experiences, let me know in the comments below or over on Facebook. My fam just loves it when I break out new ideas like this! Or, at least they love making fun of me for being such a dork.

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About the author

Proud and loving midlife mama. Lucky and devoted wife. Dog, cat and snake mom. Travel nut. Natural born writer. PR and social media pro by day - tattoo doula by night.
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