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35 Family Dinner Conversation Starters To Get Kids Talking

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Inside: Inside: Eating dinner together helps you feel more connected as a family. Here are some dinner time conversation starters to make your next family dinner memorable.

These are a lot better than “How was your day”!

The stars have aligned.

The whole family is around the table.

You’ve got plates of good food.

And nobody is fighting or throwing a tantrum.

Time for deep and meaningful conversation, right?

*Cue crickets chirping*

Does your family dinner conversation fall flat?

Or, perhaps as painful, does dinner talk consist of 15-minute monologues about Minecraft? (Been there!)

Might be time to switch it up.

How to make mealtime memorable

Conversation at the table is a big reason that eating together makes us feel more connected. 

But it’s easy to get into a routine of small talk–or focusing on the number of bites your kid is taking instead of really talking.

Breaking out an official “conversation starter” question may feel silly at first, but will probably lead to some truly memorable moments.

I reached out to my terrific Real Mom Nutrition Facebook Community for their these-actually-work fun conversation starters and added a handful from our own family table. Try asking one or more of these to each family member at your next dinner together:

BONUS: Free printable! Grab the printable list of conversation starters.

35 conversation starters for kids

What was the best part of your day?

What’s something hard that happened today?

What was your favorite vacation and why?

What’s one memory you have from (fill in the school year or grade)?

What’s your earliest memory you can think of?

If couldn’t have your own name, what first name would you pick and why?

What’s something that made you feel proud recently?

What’s the scariest FUN thing you’ve ever done?

Give a compliment to the person on your right.

What’s your favorite holiday and why?

Which friend do you trust the most? What makes a good friend?

If you could only eat 3 foods for the rest of your life, what would they be?

What’s the worst “Dad Joke” you’ve ever heard?

What’s your dream vacation?

If you could have a super power, what would you choose?

What are 3 words you’d use to describe our family?

What is your idea of a perfect day?

What’s something you learned today?

What’s one problem in the world you wish you could solve?

How was someone kind today?

Tell me two truths and a lie (everyone guesses what the lie is)

Tell me something that made you smile today

Would you rather… (choices can be serious or silly)

What is your dream job?

Who has been your all-time favorite teacher and why?

If you could be any character from a favorite book or movie, who would you be and why?

Where would you like to go on our next family vacation?

What’s been the happiest day of your life?

What’s your least favorite chore and why?

What’s your favorite song right now and what do you like about it?

What famous person would you like to meet and why?

What’s your favorite family tradition?

If you were trapped on a deserted island, what one book would you choose to have with you?

What’s the most beautiful place you’ve ever been?

What is your greatest talent?

Print the free list and cut into strips

Tips for making these questions work

Print out these questions and cut them into slips of paper you stash in a jar so they’re easy to grab

Make sure each family member has a chance to answer.

If your kids are giving one-word answers, follow up with “why?” or “tell me more”

If a question is falling flat, don’t force it. Try to choose a new question.

BONUS: Free printable! Grab the printable list of conversation starters.

Why family meals matter

Regular family dinners have always been one of the best healthy habits, and there’s a large body of research (as in THOUSANDS of studies) that actually proves the perks for children. Compared to kids who don’t eat dinner regularly with their families, they…

Are less likely to experiment with drugs and alcohol

Eat more fruits and vegetables

Have a lower risk for eating disorders and depression

Do better in school

Studies (like this one) also show that families who eat together feel more connected and have better communication and problem solving–which can help us weather uncertainties, manage difficult moments of life, and celebrate little joys together. 

Good conversation can make your family feel more connected

BONUS: Free printable! Grab the printable list of conversation starters.

Family dinner trouble shooter

What if family dinner is chaos?

If you’re in the thick of it with small children, I get it. I remember when dinner felt like a three-ring circus, when I barely managed to eat more than three warm bites of food, much less strike up memorable conversations. 

If that’s where you are right now, SIT TIGHT. I promise it gets better. The tunnel may be full of tantrums, tears, and food-throwing right now, but there’s light at the end of it!

In the meantime, remember that simply gathering at the table together is meaningful, and you’re establishing a healthy family habit that benefits everyone at your (very loud, sometimes crazy) dinner table. 

What if my picky eaters make family dinner stressful?

You’re not alone! I hear from parents all the time who say they dread family dinner because of this. While I can’t wave a wand and make your child devour everything you cook, there are some steps you can take to feel less stressed at the table. Here are a few changes to make:

What if my kid won’t eat dinner at all?

Rest assured that it’s very common for young kids to fizzle-out come dinnertime. They’re little, and dinner is at the end of a long day.

When our son went on a dinner strike as a toddler (eating a lick of ketchup or single bite of food for the meal), I felt beyond frustrated. But we eventually developed a strategy that eased our worries and nourished him when he was hungry. Learn more about this strategy here: What To Do If Your Kid Won’t Eat Dinner.

More help for family dinner

Need more family meals? Here are two of my family’s favorite easy meals:

Need some kid-friendly veggies? September is also National Fruit & Veggie Month. Try these with your crew: 

Need help planning your meals? Grab my free Meal Planning Worksheet.
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Hi! I’m Sally, a registered dietitian and mom.I believe that EVERY mom can feel successful and confident about feeding her kids. Join my subscriber community and I’ll send you my best kid-tested recipes.

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