Maureen Turner: We Are Family


The Dinner Table: Getting Kids To Talk

Best and Worst

The dinner table is such an intimate setting for conversation. I love sitting down with my family and learning about their day. As you know, kids don’t often offer up a great deal about their day. The question “What did you do today?” is often met with the reply “Nothing.”

So, my husband and I have adopted a tradition from my brother-in-law. Once dinner is on the table, and we are all settled in our seats, we go around the table and each person tells us their best and their worst thing that happened during the day.

We have found that this practice opens up a much bigger conversation, and choosing one detail of their day often leads to remembering more things that happened. We have learned about new boyfriends, fights at school, birthday invitations, bad grades. All is revealed at the dinner table. 

I used to be the one who initiated these conversations, but now it’s the kids who want to tell us about their day. I didn’t realize how much they enjoyed this practice until we went away for a weekend to Muskoka Woods. We were camping with several other moms and kids, and our three older kids were at a table with other kids while I sat with a few moms.

Halfway through dinner, Rebecca came over and said “You should introduce your friends to best and worst, we just did at our table.”

So, I did. I explained to the other moms that we had this conversation starter and that my kids would like me to share it with them, and then we went around the table and each shared what we enjoyed most about our trip and what we didn’t enjoy at all. Most of us answered sleeping in bunk beds as our worst, I wonder how many kids said that as their best?

I wonder how many moms from camp have adopted this ritual now too. It really does make the dinner table a place to come together and to learn about one another. Do you have any conversation starters that get your kids talking?