How many times a week do you sit together as a family for dinner?
We all know that family dinners are one of the most beneficial ways to maintain an open and communicative relationship with our children. Right? Did you also know that they have a major impact on the choices your kids make outside of your home.
According to a survey by Columbia University, teenagers who have a family dinner five times or more a week are 42 percent less likely to drink, 59 percent less likely to smoke cigarettes and 66 percent less likely to try marijuana. The survey also found teens were 40 percent more likely to get A’s and B’s. (If only it would increase their desire to do homework.)
Forcing the kids to the table is great, but eating in silence or in front of the television defeats the purpose. You know, because talking is the actual point. But? Getting your kids to talk can be harder than flying an airplane with one wing, a broken engine and no gas.
There are ways to get them to do it, but it takes a little creativity and some trickery. “Yes” or “no” questions will get you “yes” or “no” answers.
You: “Did anything interesting happen at school today?”
Awesome. Just like that the conversation is over.
Each week I will either be giving you prompts that engage your kids as I did last week with my orange cheerleader story or questions to start conversation. This week I am offering up some questions that you can ask your kids at the dinner table. The key here is to ask questions that inspire them to talk. That means have some fun. Dinner time isn’t meant for the heavy talk. That is what you do in the car when they can’t escape.
Monday: What is one job you never want to have when you grow up? (Follow up with, “Why?”)
Tuesday: If I left a bag of Reese’s Cups in your bedroom, how many would you eat the first night?
Wednesday: What is the one thing you wish your teacher didn’t do? (Give homework will be the answer for most of you. If so, follow up with, “Why do you think they give you homework?” They are going to give you funny answers. Enjoy.)
Thursday: If you had the day off of school tomorrow, what would you do?
Friday: If you could have three friends spend the night this weekend who would they be and why?
Check back in and share your answers. I can’t wait to hear them!