Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Dinner conversations

Dinnertime, (or Supper, if you're from the mid-west), can be a stressful time when you have young children. It has just occurred to me that our dinnertime has recently gotten a lot more enjoyable. Even a year ago, when Alec was two, we spent most of dinner dodging food and gently (or not so gently) reminding children to use their utensils and good manners. We still have to remind for manners and such (and it's gotten much gentler) but the food dodging and fighting for kids to remain at the dinner table for conversation has gotten so much more enjoyable since Alec has turned three. (I hope this is encouragement for those of you out there with younger children!)

Now that we have two children in public school, we use our dinner time to extract information from them about their days. I recently shared one of our (sneaky) ways to get the kids talking during dinner. It's a game called "Two Truths and a Lie." Now, we do not promote lying in our household, which makes this game even more fun for Evan and Ann-Marie. It is their chance to try to lie to their parents without getting into trouble. Each child comes up with three facts about their day, two of which are true and one is not. The parents then have to figure out which is the non-truth, which opens up some very interesting conversations.

Sometimes it is a struggle for our weekend dinners, as we tend to spend the majority of the weekend together, so our game doesn't work. On Sunday night, we came up with "Silly Questions" to play at the dinner table, and even Alec participated. I came up with two questions and we all had to answer. These questions really opened my eyes to what my kids were thinking about, which at this age changes constantly. Following is our dinner conversation:

Paula: If you could be any animal you wanted to, what would you be and why?
Evan: A cheetah, so I could run really far and really fast.
Ann-Marie: A horse (she has always had a thing for horses!) because they run fast too.
Darrell: A whale, so I can swim to the bottom of the sea and see what's down there.
Alec: An alligator!
Paula: A hawk, so I can fly somewhere cool!
Evan: I also want to be a Sea Cucumber, because they walk on the bottom of the sea!

Paula: What do you want to be when you grow up?
Evan: An NFL football player (he is really into the Steelers right now, for obvious reasons!)
Ann-Marie: A veterinarian (this was news to me, but she's really been into playing with her littlest pet shop animals and her my little ponies - she used a whole box of kleenexes the other day bandaging up all her little animals!)
Darrell: A lawyer - because I like to argue (that brought lots of laughing to the table)
Alec: An alligator!

So there's a peek into our dinner time!


Sandra Joseph said...

Great post!! I am so glad that you are making dinner time a priority. When our family is all together for dinner - we love to sit around after the meal and talk and laugh. You are creating a great family tradition.

Linda said...

What a cute idea! We played the two truths and a lie at our last MOPS meeting. It was fun!