Once your family is seated around the dinner table, the typical conversation starter is: “So, how was your day?”
And the typical answer? “Fine.”
Getting your child to say anything more can be a lot of work.
But what if you stopped thinking of the child’s attitude as the problem, and started with the question? What if there were some truly interesting questions you could ask your family? And what if they were excited to think about them and answer?
Family Dinner Table Conversation Cards
StarkHelpCentral.com has an easy way to improve your dinner table conversation: conversation cards, created by students at North Canton Hoover High School.
One deck of conversation starters, called “Sincere,” contains 35 question cards designed to foster a deeper connection between you and your child. The other pack, “Fun,” contains 35 question cards that are downright fun to answer and think about.
Asking the right questions may be the beginning of better dinner table conversations. And better dinner table conversations? They just may lead to better outcomes down the road.
Conversation Leads to Connection
When you ask more meaningful questions, you get more meaningful answers. This sort of meaningful dialog is part of connecting with a person on a deeper level. Plus, a regular pattern of frequent communication about “small” stuff can make it easier for a young person to approach you when they need to talk about the “big” stuff.
Open-ended questions, like the ones in our conversation packs, get more than yes or no answers. They get thoughts. Experiences. Opinions. Real communication. Not just one-word answers.
These questions are a good way to create a back-and-forth conversation of the kind kids will actually want to participate in. They also give parents a way to create a habit of listening.
Why Families Need Connection
A study conducted in Stark County in 2019 identified 56 percent of students in grades 7-12 as feeling lonely. Yet feeling connected to family and friends is one of the most important factors for children’s health and well-being. A sense of being cared for, a sense of belonging, helps children avoid negative outcomes and do better in school.
A different study (not specific to Stark County, but overall) showed adults who felt strongly connected in their youth were up to 66 percent less likely to struggle with mental health issues, substance abuse, and risky sexual behavior. That’s the sort of better outcomes we would all like to see.
How You Can Improve Family Connection
Besides conversation cards, some simple ways to build connection include:
- Enjoying shared activities, such as a hobby, a TV show, or a sport
- Communicating your values and your ideas
- Helping with school and homework
- Getting engaged with your child’s school
- Listening and supporting
Download the packs today for free, and start a new habit today!