Our free conversation starters for teens won’t just transform your family meals into more meaningful moments – they’ll also improve the relationship between you and your children so that it’s stronger than ever.
Do you ever get that horrible, sinking feeling that your children are growing up way too fast? Or perhaps you’re all too familiar with the feeling that you have absolutely nothing in common with your teenage children? Well, you’re certainly not alone.
In the 21st Century, we live in a digital society that’s dominated by the influence of technology and social media – and as parents, it’s easy to feel like we’re losing the battle for our children.
And in many respects, we are losing the battle – because long gone are the days when our children hung off our every last word. In fact, more often than not, many of us parents feel like we have to beg and plead with our children just to avert their gaze from their smartphone screen – even if only for a few seconds.
But what if I told you there was a solution to this problem – a solution that’s both tried and tested?
And what’s more, what if I told you that the answer to this problem lies within the very four walls of your home?
Well, believe it or not, it does. You see, the solution to re-establishing that all-important relationship and bond with your children lies in family dinner time…
How family mealtime can strengthen your relationship with your children
For many families, dinner time might seem like a chore. Even the planning and preparation for a daily evening meal can present a whole host of different questions, such as:
- What should I prepare for dinner this evening?
- What time will everyone be home to eat?
- Does my child/children have any extracurricular activities or after school clubs to attend this evening?
- What if my husband/wife/partner is running home late from work?
- Does my child/children have homework they need to complete this evening?
For some parents out there, the added pressure, stress and time required to prepare an evening meal for their family might seem like a pointless task.
But stop for a few moments and consider this question – what if you stopped worrying so much about putting that ‘perfect meal’ on the table every single night?
What I’m trying to get at is this. What if you changed the focus of family mealtime, so that instead of it being about the food you eat, it becomes more about you and your family spending some real quality time together as you enjoy each other’s company and a lively, interesting topic of conversation?
You see, while you might not realize it immediately, that’s the real and true value of family mealtimes. Yes, it can be a fantastic opportunity to provide your children with a nutritionally balanced meal, but that’s not all it does.
By setting aside just 30 minutes each day to enjoy a shared family meal and a meaningful conversation with your children, you will be accomplishing so much more than a well-balanced, healthy meal.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the benefits of family dinner time:
1) It’s an opportunity to re-connect
Every day, our children face many challenges. School, social relationships, conflict situations and new experiences are daily occurrences for our children and that can feel very overwhelming for a developing child.
But at the end of each day, if a child has the opportunity to share even just 30 minutes with their family, in a safe and loving environment where they can be themselves without fear or worry of being criticized, they will feel much happier as a result.
2) It’s an opportunity to give your children your undivided attention
As adults, our day to day lives can be extremely hectic. We’re often rushing from one task to the next in attempt to achieve what’s required before the end of the day. When our children observe us in this state, they could be forgiven for thinking that they are not our immediate priority.
And that’s where family dinnertime comes in. Even for just 30 minutes each day, we can sit down and give our children our undivided attention. But most importantly, we can show them that we are listening to them. And to a developing and growing child, that’s priceless.
3) It’s an opportunity to build trust
Life can be pretty daunting for our children. As they experience new daily occurrences, they may be left feeling anxious and daunted by the events that have unfolded during their day.
When a child is given the opportunity to sit down with his or her parents at mealtime, they are able to work through their experiences, feelings and emotions without judgement. As your child begins to realize that you are there to offer a listening ear, they will come to realize that they can trust you with their innermost thoughts and feelings.
4) It’s an opportunity to help your child grow and learn
While sitting down for family mealtime might not seem like a big deal, it really is. As children and adults share their stories, memories and thoughts, our children naturally pick up and learn a great deal from us. Far more than we can possibly imagine, actually.
Use our free conversation starters for teens to transform your family dinner discussions
Although the majority of parents need very little convincing about the value of family mealtimes, when it comes down to actually doing it, the experience itself can often seem underwhelming.
Why? Because when that moment comes when dinner is served, and you’re all seated together, silence just fills the air.
Does this conversation sound at all familiar?
Parent: “Did you have a good day today?”
Child: “It was ok.”
Parent: “And how was school?”
Child: “It was fine.”
Parent: “Did you learn anything new?”
Child: “Not really.”
I dare say there’s not a single parent out there who hasn’t experienced this conversation – and I’m sure we all agree when I say it feels like pulling teeth!
After this brief encounter, as we attempt to pry even the most basic of information from our children, dinner is quickly eaten and off the children go to resume playing their latest favorite computer game.
Well, it’s time to say goodbye to those painful and awkward conversations. Because our free conversation starters for teens are here to transform your family dinner discussions – from the boring and mundane to something that both you and your children will start to look forward to every single day.
Choose any topic from our long list of free conversation starters for teens and make family mealtimes meaningful again
Although it might not always seem like it, our children have highly inquisitive minds and they are eager to learn.
The biggest challenge for us parents is learning how to draw out those young, inquiring minds. And that’s where our free conversation starters for kids and teens come in!
With more than 30 different conversation starter topics to choose from – and more being added every week – you and your children can say goodbye to those meaningless mealtime conversations.
Here are just 10 examples of our free conversation starter topics to get you started:
- The US Constitution
- Deep Thoughts
- Family History
- Humor and games
- Inspirational stories
- Moral values
5 ways to get the most from our free conversation starters for kids
Here are 5 top tips you might want to try to make sure you and your family get the best out of our conversation starter cards:
Tip 1: No phones during dinner
That’s right, there should be not a single phone in sight, and this rule applies to both parents and children alike!
Tip 2: Create a positive routine
Believe it or not, kids love routine – and they thrive on it! Use family mealtimes to create a consistent dinner routine and family tradition that when called, the whole family drops whatever it is they’re doing to come and eat dinner together.
Tip 3: Ask good, open-ended questions
Often, conversations with our children fail before they’ve barely even started because we fall into the habit of asking closed questions. Try to avoid asking ‘yes/no’ questions and instead ask more open-ended questions that require your children to expand their answers.
Tip 4: Select a conversation starter that everyone can get involved in
As you’ll find when browsing our selection of free conversation starter topics, there are lots of interesting, weird and wonderful themes that will really help to stimulate conversation amongst all members of your family while getting those creative juices flowing. Once you’ve settled on a particular conversation starter, make sure that everyone gets a chance to take part in the conversation and feel involved.
Tip 5: Engage younger children first and keep the conversation lively and fun
By giving younger family members the opportunity to contribute first, they’ll feel like an important part of the conversation. And remember, whatever topic you choose, keep it light-hearted and NEVER allow the conversation to turn into any form of criticism against any member of your family.
If you feel like the conversation is heading towards criticism or conflict, steer the conversation back onto the main theme of the conversation starter card to make sure your family dinner time remains a safe and comfortable environment where everyone can express themselves comfortably and confidently.
How to use our conversation starters for teens
- Visit the Dinner Discussions website to select one of our conversation starters for kids and read it before dinner starts
- When the whole family is together and seated, read the conversation starter text out loud until you reach the word ‘discuss’ in bold lettering
- Read aloud the instructions on what your family should discuss
- Let the conversation commence!
- When the discussion comes to a natural end, if there are further instructions on the card, read them out loud to your family
- Go back into your family dinner discussion until such a point when either the conversation reaches a natural conclusion or interest levels begin to wane
Our conversations starters for kids really do work – but don’t take our word for it!
Morgan O, from Orem, Utah, said:
“I never thought I could teach my eight and six-year-old political and economic concepts at the dinner table, but Dinner Discussions has done just that. Learning together as a family is much better than discussing the latest gossip or video game. Thank you for bringing our family conversations to another level.”
Rachelle G, from Draper, Utah, said:
“We started the Dinner Discussion cards last week at dinner. They are fun! It’s great for each one of us to share our different ideas, perspectives and answers with each question. Some of the answers given were funny and made us laugh, while others were serious and made us think. The questions also lead to other discussions at the table, and that was great. What a fun way to get families talking.”
Sign up and start receiving your free Dinner Discussions conversation starters for kids
A whole new world of exciting and relationship-building conversation starters are free to access now! And when you join our free Dinner Discussions email subscription list, we’ll send our newest conversation starters for kids right to your inbox.
So, what are you waiting for? Click here and join us now to make family mealtimes meaningful again.