Making the Most of Meal Time:: 45 Family Conversation Starters to Build Connection and Communication

I grew up as the only child of a single mom who often had to work in the evening, so from elementary school and on, I often found myself eating dinner alone. I would watch movies and tv shows showing families sitting around a table discussing their days. I began to idealize the concept of family dinner, eagerly awaiting the day when I would start my own family and gather under stringed lights at a long outdoor table passing wine and food with chatter and laughter as I had seen in the show Parenthood.

Years later, with my own family, I expected us to carry out the perfect scenes I had seen on tv, and sometimes our dinners were like that, but often I would ask a child how their day was only to receive the standard answer of “good” with no additional details, even when I probed. Or oftentimes, with my 3 boys, as we sat around the table someone would emit a bodily function and then laughter and chaos would ensue and I could never seem to get a normal conversation started. It wasn’t quite the picture I had painted in my head.

Over the years I’ve needed to release my expectations of what a picture-perfect family dinner looks like, and appreciate each dinner for what it is, doing my part to make the most of it and being flexible when things don’t like quite the way I had envisioned. One thing that has helped our family to build a deeper connection and communication is asking very specific questions to get the kids talking. Instead of just hearing “good” from everyone, I have loved hearing their answers to these more specific questions.

45 Family conversation starters::

  1. What do you want to be when you grow up? Why?
  2. What were the best and worst parts of your day?
  3. What is something you learned today?
  4. What is your favorite memory of our family?
  5. What is your favorite thing for us to do together?
  6. What is something you are looking forward to?
  7. What would you like to accomplish within the next month?
  8. What is something that scares you?
  9. What makes you nervous?
  10. What makes you happy?
  11. If you could go anywhere, where would you go?
  12. Share your favorite thing about each member of our family?
  13. What is your favorite dinner?
  14. What are you thankful for?
  15. What is the best gift you have ever received?
  16. What is your favorite movie?
  17. What is your favorite thing about our family?
  18. If you won the lottery, what would you buy?
  19. What is the hardest thing about being your age?
  20. If you could live anywhere, where would you live?
  21. If you could visit anywhere, where would you go?
  22. What is something you are good at?
  23. What makes you feel loved?
  24. Tell us about a time you were scared?
  25. Tell us about a time you were nervous?
  26. Tell us about a time you were excited?
  27. What is something you would like to be better at?
  28. What is your favorite season? Why?
  29. If you could spend a day with someone famous, who would you choose?
  30. If you could have one wish, what would it be? (You can’t ask for more wishes)
  31. If you could have a superpower, what would it be? Why?
  32. What is one way you helped another person this week?
  33. If you could pick your own name, what would you choose?
  34. If you could be an animal, what would you be?
  35. What do you want your life to look like in 10 years?
  36. What are 3 words you would use to describe yourself?
  37. What qualities make a good friend?
  38. What is the nicest thing a friend has done for you?
  39. What is your favorite family tradition?
  40. What is your favorite thing to do?
  41. What is one thing you could have done better today?
  42. Who is your best friend? What do you like about them?
  43. If your house was on fire, what is one item you would grab on your way out the door?
  44. What is something you want to learn how to do?
  45. Parent(s) share stories about when they were the kid(s) ages.
Shannon Mangerchine
Shannon lives in Central City, New Orleans with her husband, Jeremy, and three sons, Noah, Eli and Zeke. She left a career in Human Resources to take on her dream of being a stay-at-home mom. During this time, she and her husband founded a non-profit called Bastion Resources with the purpose of inspiring others to live a life of intimacy with God. Shannon is passionate about creating community and engaging in meaningful conversation around the dinner table. Recently, she created The Intentional Daily Journal to help people live with more purpose and clarity, which is available for purchase on Amazon. In her free time, Shannon enjoys all types of fitness, trying new restaurants, reading and discussing books with her book club, coffee dates with friends and hanging at the park with her family. Shannon is constantly creating new healthy recipes and sharing them on her blog Dinner Done by 9am.


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