Family Conversation Starters for Mealtimes

Family sitting together at the dinner table eating together.

Family Conversation Starters for Mealtimes

Connecting with young children during mealtimes is critical for healthy social and emotional development. The act of sitting together around a dinner table, sharing a meal and discussing your day is a comforting ritual to introduce to your children from a young age. This time allows you to check in with your partner and children for an uninterrupted bonding time. If you start this ritual early, your children will come to expect it and respect it. And they will likely make it a priority as they get older. Try to keep it sacred even when your children are very young. Set an example by keeping your smartphone in another room, not taking phone calls during dinner, sitting together at the table with the TV turned off, and making it a point to have conversation. It can be challenging to get children to talk about their day and share details with you if you do not ask pointed questions. During this mealtime, you can start some rituals of specific conversations that you have together. Here are some ideas for family conversation starters with young children.

Family Conversation Starters for Mealtimes

1. Ask your family to go around the table and say the best part of their day.

This is the simplest thing and it is usually very positive and can lead to additional family conversation starters. And maybe even help you to learn something about your child! This question is especially important if your child is school-age or goes to childcare and you are not with them all day. Asking this simple question can really give you a window into your child’s day. Be sure to share the best part of your day. And set an example by explaining why it was the best part of your day and how it made you feel. Talking about feelings is an important skill for young children. This question can help bring up feelings and emotions as you discuss your child’s answer.

READ MORE
5 Ways Parents of Preschoolers Can Raise a Body-Positive Kid

2. Ask your children what act of kindness they did for someone today.

The first few times you ask this question, your child may not have an answer. But if you continue to ask it every evening, they will remember and start to purposefully do an act of kindness for someone just so they have something to report during dinner time. Set an example to talking about something very simple that you did. “Today I allowed another driver to pull out in front of me.” “Today I texted a friend to say hello.” Remind your child that no act of kindness is too small. Offer some suggestions of things they can do tomorrow. As ask a child to play, play with a younger sibling, or smile at a new child in the classroom. This teaches children to think beyond themselves, consider the feelings of others and build empathy.

3. Ask your children what they are grateful for today.

Try to get them to talk about something that simply makes them feel happy or secure such as their stuffed animal, favorite toy, sibling, mommy or daddy or a best friend. Talk about what it means to be grateful and why it is important. Talk about what you are grateful for (often tell your children that you are grateful for them).

4. Ask your children what they are looking forward to about tomorrow.

This can be at school, or at home and this can allow you to plan for the next day together and allow your child to think about time and how it is relative to their life. Ask follow-up family conversation starters such as “Why are you looking forward to that?” and “What do we need to do to prepare for our picnic tomorrow?” Include your child in the planning.

READ MORE
The “Best” Parenting Advice We Have Received

5. Ask your child what made them unhappy today.

Just as it is important to talk about happy emotions, it is equally important to give your children opportunities to discuss and process more difficult emotions. This may give your child an opportunity to share something that happened at school that was upsetting or scary for them. Help your child discuss why they feel the way they do. And validate their feelings. (“If my friend played with someone else instead of me on the playground, I would feel sad too”).

Remind your child that they can always discuss anything with their family. Make mealtimes a time of connection, trust, no judgement and safety with these family conversation starters. This tradition will provide a foundation into their teen years when that connection is more important than anything!

About the Author /

Dr. Aimee Ketchum is a pediatric occupational therapist and has been working in pediatrics for 20 years. Ketchum works in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at UPMC Pinnacle Hospital and lives in Lancaster, Pennsylvania with her husband and two daughters. Ketchum is also the owner/operator of Aimee’s Babies LLC, a child development company.

#FOLLOW US ON INSTAGRAM
Instagram post 18081663985089005 Do you SEE me struggling as I try to open the door?? Nope? Cool . . . just walk on by. 😑😫👿⁠
📷: @modernmomprobs⁠
.⁠
#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #momstruggles #momprobs #mumlife #mommylife #parenthood #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #momhumor #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣ #mommychick
Instagram post 18113982706026763 Praying that all the babies sleep through the night! 🙏💤⁠
📷: @hallmarkbaby⁠
.⁠
#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #momstruggles #momprobs #mumlife #mommylife #parenthood #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #momhumor #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣ #mommychick
Instagram post 17893588471419368 ⁠Gosh, they can be such a pain in the ass sometimes. But then when they stop and look at you with those puppy dog eyes, you can’t help but scoop them up and love on them. They might be a pain in the ass but they are YOUR pain in the ass. 😂❤️ (From one mother of a strong-willed--read exhausting and opinionated--kid to another!)⁠
📷: @humorandwine⁠
.⁠
#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #momstruggles #momprobs #mumlife #mommylife #parenthood #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #momhumor #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣ #mommychick
Instagram post 17853985321641015 I feel like several people have been going over a week past their due dates lately . . . Is it something in the water? 🤔 How many days before or after your due date did you have your baby? 👶❤️⁠
.⁠
#pregnancy #pregnant #newmom  #momtobe #pregnancylife #motherhood #mamatobe #momlife #babybump #pregnancyjourney #bumpie #EDD #preggo #duedate #birth #maternity #expecting #mumlife #mommytobe #pregnantlife #babyontheway #inspirepregnancy #mommychick #babychick
Instagram post 17899717765403522 ❤️ How to Help When Visiting a New Mom – Podcast Ep 21 ❤️⁠
.⁠
Becoming a new mother, whether it be your first baby or your sixth, is filled with so many emotions. 🎢 Figuring out your new normal can take a minute as you recover from giving birth and get to know your new baby. People will be at your doorstep in no time wanting to congratulate you and meet your baby, but sometimes people aren't necessarily thinking about what they can do for YOU to be helpful. If you know someone who has recently had a baby or if you are currently expecting, today’s podcast episode is for you! ❤️ {Link in bio!}⁠
.⁠
This episode is brought to you by @skylightframe. It's a digital picture frame that has a touch-screen display that documents all of your family’s special moments—a great gift for yourself or for an expecting or new mom. If you want to bring a nice gift when visiting a new mom, be sure to check out Skylight Frame and use our discount code BABYCHICK for $10 off your order! #ad #skylightframe⁠
.⁠
#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #newmom #postpartum #mumlife #mommylife #postpartumlife #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #mommychick #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣
Instagram post 17920976449353517 💪 Mom Hacks for Staying Fit After Having Kids⁠
.⁠
Going to keep it real here, your fitness game is going to change after having kids. If you were crushing it before having babies, you're going to find that the free time for working out isn't what is used to be.⁠
.⁠
Regardless of where you were at, there are things you can do to make your heath a priority and be a good example to your little ones.⁠
.⁠
1. Don't rush back. There's no gold star here. Take your time, get the clearance from your OB/midwife and start when you're ready.⁠
.⁠
2. Schedule your workouts. Like most things in life now, you're on a schedule. Create time in your new life for you -- you'll thank yourself later.⁠
.⁠
3. Ask for Help. Chances are high that the Mom down the street is looking for some kid free time as well. You take an hour, she takes an hour and we're all better off for it.⁠
.⁠
4.  Embrace the little things. Your day will present opportunities to get your butt moving. Find them.⁠
.⁠
5. Get a new outfit. Because, duh.⁠
.⁠
6. Join a fitness community. It's scientifically proven that external motivators work when it comes to starting and sticking with a fitness routine. Utilize your community for support and motivation.⁠
.⁠
Words & 📸 : @juna.moms⁠
.⁠
#fitmom #newmom #fitness #fitspo #momlife #fitnessmotivation #fitlife #healthylifestyle #healthyliving #fittip  #motherhood #momtobe #mommylife #momsofinstagram #babychick #fitfam
Instagram post 17847795697730464 Royalty or not, we’re all just trying to do our best. ❤️⁠
(quote: Kate Middleton)⁠
.⁠
#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #mommychick #mumlife #mommylife #parenthood #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #momhumor #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣
Instagram post 17863400905557801 Becoming a mother makes you realize you can do almost anything one-handed. 💁‍♀️⁠
📷: @hanna_wol⁠
.⁠
#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #momstruggles #momprobs #mumlife #mommylife #parenthood #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #momhumor #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣ #mommychick
Instagram post 17865176050536267 Tell this to your kids when they are having a hard day or struggling. ❤️⁠
📷: @momthesedays⁠
.⁠
#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #momstruggles #momprobs #mumlife #mommylife #parenthood #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣
Instagram post 18004050754269786 "All the feelings apply to all the moms, in all the stages. We're more alike than not." ❤️⁠
(quote via @catandnat)⁠
.⁠
#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #momstruggles #momprobs #mumlife #mommylife #parenthood #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #mommychick #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣
Instagram post 17844140491774206 ⁠🎵 I’ve got my whole world in my hands
I’ve got my whole wide world in my hands
I’ve got my whole world in my hands
I’ve got my whole world in my hands 🎵
.
When you meet your baby(ies) and your whole world changes. 💕
📷: @megbed
.
#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #twins #twinsmom #mumlife #mommylife #parenthood #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #mommychick #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣
Instagram post 18110828746014338 The first year after baby is the leading time when marriages break up. The extra stress, lack of sleep, and major life changes can all contribute to communication breakdown and losing intimacy. 💔 That's why protecting relationships is such an important part of postpartum planning (done in pregnancy). Parenthood is an emotionally provocative experience. These heightened emotions help you tune into your baby's needs, but it can also help you tune into each other.⁠
.⁠
Speak your partner's love language in postpartum. Send this resource to your loved one so that they can make you feel loved and supported in a meaningful way.⁠
Words & 📸: @birthbossco⁠
.⁠
#postpartum #postpartumlife #newmom #newparent #momlife #mumlife #motherhood #4thtrimester #fourthtrimester #motherhoodunplugged #parenting #motherhoodrising #momsofinstagram #mommychick #babychick #lovelanguage #mommylife #marriage #relationships
Instagram post 17934950050319412 EXACTLY! 🙌 I wish more moms knew this and didn't feel pressured to say yes automatically to guests--of course, unless they want to! 😊 But you can always say no and not right now. Take your time to bond with your new baby. If you want people to come over, great! But don't feel bad if you don't and want more time alone with your family. People who love you should understand. ❤️⁠
(quote via @psychedmommy)⁠
.⁠
#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #momstruggles #momprobs #mumlife #mommylife #parenthood #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #mommychick #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣
Instagram post 18003898246270151 YUP! Thought I would run a tight ship but turns out I can't contain this circus. 🤦‍♀️⁠
📷: @badparentingmoments⁠
.⁠
#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #momstruggles #momprobs #mumlife #mommylife #parenthood #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #momhumor #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣
Instagram post 17892508969418384 When you go out of town for a few days and your family realizes all that you do for them and the house. 😂⁠
(quote via @playdatesonfridays)⁠
.⁠
#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #momstruggles #momprobs #mumlife #mommylife #parenthood #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #momhumor #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣ #mommychick
Instagram post 17857907638591275 Dinner time with toddlers can oftentimes be hectic and stressful. Sometimes they’ll eat what you’ve made them and other times they won’t. 😒 We’ve been there! This is why we are sharing two yummy dinner recipes that have been toddler approved that the whole family can enjoy—Taco Pizza and Stuffed Sweet Potatoes! 😋
.
We substituted sour cream in these recipes with @stonyfield YoBaby yogurt because it provides not only the calcium they need, but also probiotics, protein and vitamin D! 👍 (Our pediatrician says our little guy needs 2-4 servings of dairy per day!) The yogurt still has that tangy flavor that you’re looking for but with even more benefits! Cheers to full tummies and happy families! 🙌 #ad #stonyfield
📹: @trippfilms
.
#toddlermeals #dinnerideas #dinnerrecipes #foodfortoddlers #toddlerlife #stonyfieldorganic #stonyfieldyogurt #stonyfieldyobaby #momlife #toddlerfoodideas #mommychick #babychick #mumlife #motherhoodthroughinstagram #momsofinstagram #motherhoodrising #momstruggles #uniteinmotherhood #parenthood #dinnertime
Instagram post 17873539714477826 Some days I feel like I am totally kicking butt and taking care of business as a mom . . . and other days I'm like, "Do I really have to adult today?" 😫😴⁠ #WeekendsDontExistWhenYoureAParent #NoDaysOff⁠
📷: @decade2doodles⁠
.⁠
#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #momstruggles #momprobs #mumlife #mommylife #parenthood #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #momhumor #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣
Instagram post 18076599439134453 You're becoming the person you are meant to be. 💗⁠
(quote via @januaryharshe)⁠
.⁠
#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #momstruggles #momprobs #mumlife #mommylife #postpartum #postpartumlife #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #mommychick #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣  #4thtrimester #fourthtrimester #newmom
Instagram post 18010968127252794 Did you know that in some locations there are Mother's Milk Banks (@austinmilkbank)? They are nonprofit banks that collect donor human milk for babies in need. We love mamas like @lololovelyco who are donating their milk while also breastfeeding! I wish I had made enough milk when I was breastfeeding my son to have done the same. But I'm so grateful for mothers who can! Spreading the love to all of you milk making mamas! 🤱💗⁠
📷: @lololovelyco⁠
.⁠
#breastfeeding #motherhood #momlife #postpartum #nursing #breastmilk #normalizebreastfeeding #newmom #mumlife #newbaby #breastpump #breastfeedingfact #motherhoodthroughinstagram #mommylife #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #mommychick #babychick⁣
Instagram post 17882796163445028 Happy Halloween! 🎃 Hope there is minimal (to no) whining and you don't have to break out your inner Mary Poppins to still create a magical evening with the family. ⁠
.⁠
And if there is some toddler nonsense, remember you can eat their candy while they sleep. 😜⁠
📷: @hipmomma007⁠
.⁠
#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #momstruggles #momprobs #mumlife #mommylife #parenthood #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #momhumor #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣ #mommychick #happyhalloween #halloween #halloweencostumes
Instagram post 18026714824240302 Pretty much. 😒⁠ #momofatwoyearold
(quote via @mommy_cusses)⁠
.⁠
#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #momstruggles #momprobs #mumlife #mommylife #parenthood #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #momhumor #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #mommychick #babychick⁣
Instagram post 17882685211447052 Psycho moms have more fun. 🤣 But for real though, I would have been scared sh*tless if I was a child and this kid was in my class. 😱 #happyhalloween!
📷: unknown⁠
.⁠
#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #halloween #kidscostume #mumlife #mommylife #parenthood #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #momhumor #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣
Instagram post 17882232535453301 Some solid advice for new moms. ❤️⁠
📷: @debiandbebi⁠
.⁠
#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #momstruggles #newmom #mumlife #mommylife #parenthood #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #mommychick #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣
Instagram post 17880589438445237 You know your child better than anybody. Do what YOU feel is best for your child and your family.  No explanations necessary. ❤️⁠
📷: @moderndaywonderland⁠
.⁠
#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #momstruggles #momprobs #mumlife #mommylife #parenthood #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #parenting #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣ #mommychick
  • Sort by:

  • Category:

  • Tag:

  • Type: