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Conversation Starters for Family Dinners

 

Make Mealtime More Engaging

 

I am a big proponent of the importance of family mealtime. Whether you are sitting down together for pizza at the end of a long day, or enjoying a long and leisurely gourmet meal, reconnecting each evening is essential for family togetherness. Statistics show that kids who grow up in homes where family mealtime is a priority tend to be happier, healthier and perform better in school.

 

In reality, as kids get older, it becomes more and more difficult to engage them in conversation at dinnertime. Many nights, they eat and then run off to their next activity. Take the lead and make dinner a time for conversation that involves the entire family. Create a conversation jar to place on the table with questions on topics everyone will want to answer. Let the kids pick one or two questions each evening and as you enjoy your dinner, go around the table and allow everyone the time to give their answer.

 

You will be surprised how a simple question can turn your time together into something the entire family looks forward to.

 

Stumped on where to start? Here are some great questions to get you inspired to create your own mealtime conversation jar:

 

• If you could only keep one thing that is currently in your bedroom, what would you choose to keep and why?

 

• Can you remember a recent dream that felt real? What was is about?

 

• Who is the one teacher you have had in your lifetime that has made the biggest difference in your future? What was so special about them?

 

• What color do you think best matches your personality on most days? Why?

 

• If you could be an actor or actress in any movie, which movie would you most like to star in and why?

 

Need something to prepare for dinner to get you started?

 

This Lime-Grilled Shrimp recipe tastes like it is something you could have spent a lot of time preparing. Instead, in under 25 minutes you can have a delicious meal on the table and be ready to share great conversation with a table full of family members.

 

Photo by Kristen Doyle

Lime-Grilled Shrimp

 

Serves 4

 

Prep time: 15 minutes

 

Cook time: 7 minutes

 

1/2 teaspoon fresh lime zest

 

1/4 teaspoon cumin

 

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

 

1 teaspoon salt

 

1/2 teaspoon pepper

 

2 Tablespoons olive oil

 

2-3 Tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice

 

4 cloves garlic, minced

 

1 lb. shelled, deveined uncooked shrimp

 

Directions:

1 Mix together the first 8 ingredients in a bowl. Add shrimp and toss to coat.

 

2  Let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes to marinate.

 

3. Thread the shrimp on metal skewers; reserve marinade.

 

4. Place skewered shrimp on grill over medium heat. Cook 3-7 minutes or until shrimp turns pink, turning once and brushing with marinade occasionally.

 

By Kristen Doyle

 

One thought on “Conversation Starters for Family Dinners

  1. My kids are 7, 4, 2, and 5 months, so we have to find conversations that can include all ages. One of our favorites to do is ‘Favorite’, where I ask for their favorite food, dessert, color, shirt, season, park, thing to do in the summer, etc. We go around the table and everyone gets a chance to answer.

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