Family DinnerConversation is an art that parents can teach their children. The family dinner table provides a prime opportunity to engage your children in conversation and help them build conversation skills. In doing so, you will also be helping them build a strong foundation of reading and language arts skills that will provide a solid cornerstone for future learning.

  • To encourage participation in mealtime conversations, ask each person (adults included) to share something about their day. You might want to let your children take the edge off their hunger before engaging them in conversation. Parents can set an example for their children by going first and sharing something interesting that happened to them or that they heard or saw that day.
  • As each person takes a turn sharing his news, express interest and ask questions to encourage your children to elaborate on their experiences. In doing so, you will be demonstrating the give and take that is part of the art of conversation.
  • Always come to the table prepared with several topics that might interest your children. Keep conversation age-appropriate but use the opportunity to expand your children’s horizons beyond your local community into the wider world.
  • Share family stories and encourage storytelling in your children by asking them to share school trip, vacation and holiday memories.
  • Don’t shy away from using words your child may not understand, but do explain their meaning. For example, if you use the word “environment,” add, “the world around us like the trees and the air we breathe.” Don’t bog down the conversation with lengthy explanations unless your child asks.