By Tina Bushman
When was the last time you had dinner as a family? And what did you talk about?
Researchers have consistently found that children who share a meal with their parents not only eat healthier, but have better grades and a more supportive group of friends. They are less likely to be on drugs, depressed or in trouble with the law. Eating together as a family creates unity and trust, builds confidence against peer pressure and establishes expectations and values.
Parents, are you making the most of this time?
As children get older and family life gets more and more busy, there can be many distractions that take away from having dinner together as family. Wise parents will make it a priority and use this opportunity to connect with their children, establishing healthy communication and teaching values. However, getting children, especially teens, to talk can be a challenge, making it daunting to start a family discussion. The trick, I believe, is in the question.
Here are 25 questions to ignite some more meaningful family discussions.
Remember this beloved Mr. Rogers quote when asking your family questions: “One of the most essential ways of saying ‘I love you’ is by being a receptive listener."
When children develop a pattern of sharing ideas and opinions in a safe environment, they will feel comfortable coming to their parents in times of need. Sharing a meal — whether it's takeout pizza or a homemade casserole — gives families a chance to bond and connect despite their hectic schedules and provides the perfect time to get your family talking.
What questions do you like to ask your kids?
Tina and John Bushman are the parents of five children and authors of Table Talk: Hundreds of Questions and Quotes to Start Great Family Discussions on Patriotism, Values, Fun and Faith.