14 Ideas for Conversation Topics for Family Dinners
Family meals are traditionally the time when families catch up with each other. You may be thinking that conversation topics for family meals should flow naturally and may be disappointed when they don’t. While sometimes conversation topics for family meals will be spontaneous, it’s always a good idea to have a plan in place. These conversation topics for family meals can help to drive robust conversations that will lead to family bonding.
1. Ask Kids About School
Whether your child is in an early childhood education program or if they’re in high school, asking about school is one of the best conversation topics for family dinners because it will engage your children. Avoid asking, “How was school today?” Most children will give you a simple answer such as saying, “It was fine”. Make the question more personal. For example, “What are you learning about?” or, “Who did you sit with at lunch?”. Only then can you expand on the conversation.
Asking about school is a conversation starter and it helps you to get to know your children better. It can also help you discover if there is anything happening at school that you may need to be concerned about. Asking pointed questions (without interrogating your child) will show them you’re genuinely interested in learning about the time they spend away from home.
2. Talk About the Importance of Dental Hygiene
Meal time is a great time to talk about dental hygiene. All conversation topics for family meals do not have to focus on personal activities, it can be a question and answer type session. Every family should make dental hygiene a priority. Talking about it over dinner is a great way to drive home the importance of taking care of your teeth.
Children usually have a lot of questions about their dental office, dental implants, procedures that they may have, and more. Talking about caring for your teeth can open the door for children to address some of their questions. Having conversations about dental care can help alleviate some of the apprehension a child may feel about going to the dentist.
3. Discuss Any Needed Home Repairs
If your house is in need of repair, those planned repairs can be great conversation topics for family dinners. Children like to be included in planning, and they also like to know what to expect. If you’re hiring local roofers, gutter repair experts, a plumber, an electrician, or other professionals, talk about it with your family. All family members like to be kept in the loop. Talking about the plans to make repairs to your home are easy conversation topic for family meals that will keep everyone informed, and it can also help to reduce stress.
Many parents don’t realize that needed home repairs are not only stressful for them, but it’s stressful for the children as well. Having conversations about the plan to make repairs will ease their worry.
4. Ask What Everyone’s Favorite Meals Are
What better time to learn what your family’s favorite meals are than at dinner time? You may be surprised by some of the answers. Food is a bonding experience and a great conversation topic for the family. For example, your children may notice when you include natural beef in your recipes and you never even realize it would make a difference. Learning what your family enjoys eating can help with meal planning, and also give you some insight as to ways you can make meals that everyone looks forward to.
5. Talk About Hobbies
Mealtimes are a great time to really get to know your family. One of the conversation topics for family gatherings should be about hobbies that the children are interested in or hobbies that they would like to get involved in. You may wind up looking for dirtbike sales after a few conversations around the dinner table.
Learning more about your family’s hobbies or hobbies that they’re interested in is important because it can help you to nurture and support their interests. Using hobbies as a discussion topic can open up an avenue to really getting to know your family. You may be sitting at the table with a future artist or the next great racing star. You’ll never know unless you ask.
Don’t forget to share your hobbies and how you got started with them. It’s important that parents share their hobby history with their children because it encourages them to take the next step in developing their own hobbies. Don’t forget that childhood hobbies often turn into amazing adult careers.
6. Teach Kids About Avoiding Lice
Talking about communicable diseases and other community-spread health problems can be an uncomfortable topic, but it is one that should be addressed. Talking to your kids about lice treatments, and how to avoid getting lice, can help them to better protect themselves at school and when they’re away from home. Lice are highly contagious and no one is above catching them.
Every year there are “lice outbreaks” in schools around the United States. Sharing information with your children about how to avoid being a statistic in a lice outbreak is a good topic that can open conversations about other health concerns they may have about other communicable diseases. Your family may be worried about things that you are not aware of. This topic could help to open up a discussion.
7. Discuss Starting a Family Garden
Gardening together is a wonderful family activity that comes with a lot of positives. For example, you can cut down on your grocery bill by growing vegetables, and you can also teach your children about self-sufficiency. Of course, starting the family garden will give you even more conversation topics for family meals. Let the children help you make decisions about the garden, like where you will plant the garden and what types of vegetables you will plant.
Gather information about a bulk organic mulch supplier, seed supplier, and startup costs for the family garden. Present the information to your family and get some feedback. There will likely be plenty of suggestions for things you should grow together.
8. Talk About Upcoming Haircut Options
Personal grooming is an important topic. One way that parents can help to ease any apprehension about getting a haircut is to allow the children to pick the barber that they want to use. You can talk about the options that are available and make plans. This topic can also be turned into other conversations about personal care. It’s important that your family feels comfortable talking about personal care and any concerns that they have.
9. Talk About Your Next Family Vacation
Mealtimes are often the only time you can get the whole family in one room. Conversation topics for family meals can be focused on vacation planning to ensure you get everyone’s input before you start making firm plans. Ask family members what their dream vacation would look like. You can go around the table and have each family member describe their favorite place to visit. Before you start the topic set some boundaries or you may find yourself at the table for hours debating whether the beach or the mountains are better. You can say something like we are going on a family vacation and are considering these two places and letting the conversation grow from there.
Vacation topics are always fun to discuss. Moreover, you’ll be able to gather the information that’s going to help greatly in your planning efforts. You’ll be able to plan a vacation that has something to offer everyone. Of course, this topic can also lead to other conversations and become a learning experience. For example, you may find out that one of your children hates the beach because they fear the ocean or marine life. Talking about vacation can be a very eye-opening experience.
10. Talk About Pop Culture
Pop culture is always an interesting conversation topic. There is so much information that you can discuss that surrounds pop culture. For example, talk about what music your children like and which singers or rappers are their favorites. Talk about the latest movies and movies that you enjoyed as a kid. Talking about pop culture can create a bridge of understanding in families. Children will look at their parents differently when they know that their parents had movie star crushes, loved certain types of music growing up, went to concerts, and more.
Pop culture is full of topics that you can bring to the “table”. These topics can also be a teaching tool about bad decisions and how they can affect people. It is an easy topic to indulge in while you’re gathered with your family.
11. Talk About Never Would I Ever Topics
Conversation topics for family dinners do not have to be serious to connect with your family. A fun game to play around the dinner table is “never would I ever”. People at the table get to make statements such as “never would I ever eat a rat”. It can be a fun way to open the door to other topics. It is also a fun way to really get to know your family members and test their limits.
12. Talk About Faith
It’s important that families discuss their faith, not just their own faith, but other people’s faith as well. Talking about different faiths helps to curate respect for what other people believe. This is a very important topic that can help you to encourage your children to be more accepting of people that have a different faith than they do.
Reasserting your own family’s faith and talking about the history of that faith is another conversation topic that can share information and give children a sense of pride in your family’s faith. By discussing the foundation of your faith, you will give your children an opportunity to ask questions and solidify their own faith.
13. Talk About Academic Plans
Talking about academic plans is different from talking about school. Your middle schooler may feel like college is a lifetime away, but in reality, they likely only have four or five years left before they will be freshmen in college. Talking about which universities your children want to go to and formulating a plan B if they do not get into their school of choice is an important conversation. It’s important that you discuss all case scenarios with your children.
Talking about academic plans will help you to better understand your children’s aspirations. It will also help you to support them to achieve their goals.
14. Talk About Fun Subjects
Want to keep it light but keep the conversation going? Ask your children what they think your family pet would say if you asked them a specific question. You can also ask the children what type of animal they would be if they could or what type of animal they think their parents secretly are. Keeping the conversation light and fun-filled will encourage more family time together. There are a lot of fun questions you can ask to get family members involved in the conversation.
One of the ways you can get your family talking around the dinner table is to ask open-ended questions. If you ask a yes or no type question you will likely get either a yes or a no and no more conversation. Be mindful of topics that may make family members uncomfortable and avoid them. You do not want family time to turn into a shouting match. Be respectful of each person at the table and give them an opportunity to speak. Most of all, do not shut anyone down because you do not like their answers. Even the youngest family members deserve a chance to get in on the conversation.
Getting your family to open up and talk is easier than you think. Try some of these conversation starters at your next family meal. You will be glad you did.