Today I’m going to share with you one of my biggest secrets for getting my kids excited about dinner time. Here it is: one of our very favorite things to do as a family at the dinner table (besides eat!) is to pass around our Family Dinner Conversation Starters Jar. We take turns pulling out a question to answer and then let the fun ensue!
And I’m going to tell you all about it!
Kids are natural chatterboxes
Kids love to talk. A lot. And my kids are no different. But sometimes it can be tricky to find the time to hang out and just listen to them spills their beans. Over time we’ve discovered the dinner hour has proven the perfect time to just chill, and listen, and eat.
But sometimes listening can be rough
I love my kiddos to death. But it can be tricky to keep my eyes from glazing over as they recount each and every detail of last night’s nightmare. (Just me?)
So here’s the perfect solution
A handy-dandy jar filled with over 175 juicy questions to keep your kids talking and laughing, and you eager to listen. Hanging out with my kids at the dinner table has never been easier than with our Family Dinner Conversation Starters jar!
You can download all 175+ printable questions and jar templates to make your very own Family Dinner Conversation Starters jar at the bottom of this post!
This is how the fun started
A few years ago, one of my kids came home from a primary church activity with a jar of fun questions to be used for journaling or everyday conversation. And you’d never guess that so much fun could come from just a simple, little jar. We kept the jar in our placemats drawer, and every evening someone would set them on the table for dinner.
And now we LOVE this ritual!
My kids enjoyed this activity so much that the jar made it’s appearance several nights a week at dinner time. It was like a game; a game that could include everyone in the family, regardless of age…and we (the parents) didn’t even have to have our ‘thinking caps’ on to play. Haha
But tragedy struck…
Waa, waa. Unfortunately, the jar was misplaced during our move across states and suddenly our family dinners lost their pizzazz.
Mom to the rescue!
So after several months of my kids asking, and asking, and asking, and asking…(sound familiar?)…where the jar was…
I decided to create our very own Family Dinner Conversation Starters jar!
The Family Dinner Conversation Starters jar was born
Over the course of a week, I spent several hours compiling a list of questions I knew my kids would love for our Family Dinner Conversation Starters jar.
The last version we owned contained lots of silly questions mixed with a bunch of ‘would you rather’ questions. And while those were extremely fun and entertaining, I wanted to mix in some questions that would provoke heartfelt responses from my kiddos.
Because I YEARN to have meaningful discussions at our family table.
I NEED my kids to know I listen, I hear, and I care about what goes on in their lives.
So I came up with 4 different categories of questions that will kickstart those glorious family discussions at our dinner table.
- Fun questions
- Favorite questions
- Reflective questions
- Gratitude questions
In total, there are over 175 questions for our family to enjoy!!
And I want to share it with YOU so your family can have just as much entertainment and joy as mine has!
So fill in your name and email at the bottom of this post and I will send you my FREE printable Family Dinner Conversation Starters kit so you and your family can have a blast during your own family dinners!
Family dinners are so important
Did you know that carving out time every day to sit at the dinner table and spend quality time with your family is SO crucial to your child’s wellbeing?
Studies prove that regular family dinners are good for the spirit, the brain, and the health of all family members. Spending quality time at the dinner table is linked to lower rates of depression, substance abuse, obesity, and eating disorders. It’s also linked to higher GPA’s, higher self-esteem, and a boost language development.
Eating dinner as a family provides daily structure, insight into moods and emotional well-being, and acts as a “vaccine” against many of the harms that come to children from a hurried lifestyle.
I mean, c’mon. Do you really need any more reason to have regular family dinners??
Well just for good measure, here’s another reason that I believe tops them all.
They’re crucial for your relationships
From toddlers to teens, family dinners improve ALL family relationships up to twice as much as families who don’t have regular family dinners.
Just ask your own kids.
The American College of Pediatricians reports that “teens having frequent family dinners are more likely to report having excellent relationships with their family.” “In one survey, 71% of teenagers said they consider talking/catching up, and spending time with family members as the best part of family dinners.”
Dinner times are when most family talk happens.
So if you find an idea, like my Family Dinner Conversation Starters jar, that will improve family dinners and increase happiness and health in your home, then jump in and hold on tight.
Because that’s the stuff in life that truly matters.
Do you want your very own Family Dinner Conversation Starters jar??
If you want to put together your own Family Dinner Conversation Starters jar, just enter your name and email address in the box at the bottom of this post. I will send the printable download straight to your email inbox for you to get started right away!
Then save the download to your computer and gather the following common household items:
- A quart-size canning jar
- A jar lid (the download includes both wide mouth & regular mouth sizes)
- Family Dinner Conversation Starters printable file (download for FREE at the bottom of this post!)
- White printer paper (for the jar labels)
- White or colored cardstock (for the questions)—I used a different color for each category.
When you have gathered your items, print out each of the pages from your download onto paper—print the jar labels on the white printer paper and the questions on the cardstock colors of your choice.
Next, cut out the labels and slide the long jar label into the jar with the image facing the outside. I designed it to fit like glove.
Finally, cut out each question, fold them in half, and then drop them into the jar. It’s that easy!
How to use it:
Bring the jar out at dinner time, bedtime, on road trips, or any other time you want to have conversations with your kids. Let them select a question to answer. Be honest with your own answers to questions, and especially remove all judgment and criticism from your responses to their answers.
And finally, be prepared to have fun!
Sign up below to get all the files and instructions for making your very own Family Dinner Conversation Starters Jar! You’ll be so glad you did!
**For more family dinner fun, read this post on how to get your kids excited about dinner time!