How To Get Your Family To Bond Over Dinner

I have this idea, like many other mothers, that the evening meal should be a time when all members of the family gather together to feed not only our faces, but our need for togetherness. Sounds a bit sappy, but it's true.  All the experts agree.

So many times, my family's dinnertime routine has revolved around the television, and not in a good way. Sometimes "Dinner and a Show" is an awesome treat.  But often, we just end up vegging out, so mesmerized by the flickering, flashing screen, that we hardly notice the others are present. Well, unnoticed at least until The Boy spills the cherry Kool-Aid on the beige microfiber recliner.

So, once in a while we play The Dinner Game. It is merely a deck of homemade cards, easy and fun to make; a great project to do with the kids.

Cut them from construction paper and decorate with stickers, or design and print them on the computer!  The Punkin and Princess decorated ours, using our sizable rubber stamp collection. On the front of each card, pose a simple question, or designate a topic. Make it a good conversation starter. 

Here are some examples:
  • What sucked about today?
  • What was awesome about today?
  • Tell us something that you like about your sister (or mom, dad, brother, grandma).
  • Did you like what you were wearing today? Why or why not?
  • FREE CARD (talk about anything you want)
  • If a genie granted you one wish right now, what would you wish for?
  • Talk about something that made you laugh today.

Use a card to remind the family of a certain memory or funny story that might spark laughter or conversation. Throw in some action cards, too.  Like these:

  • "Who remembers the time that the old lady farted during the museum tour, and then turned around and blamed it on Dad?" Now just sit back and laugh!
  • Ask if anyone needs a refill on their drink, and then get up and get it for them.

Chris Rock says that Dad gets the big piece of chicken, and I say he gets the first card too! Start with the head of the table, and work your way around, one at a time. Set a limit on the total number of cards, or play until mealtime is over.  Be sure to construct lots of cards, so that the family doesn't get bored of the same ones over and over. We even laminated our cards to protect them from gravy splatters and greasy fingerprints.  And who says you have to do them during dinner, anyway?  Family game night?

Make your own rules, and have fun with your family!

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