Our Secret to Kid-Friendly Dinner Conversation

Feb 26, 2010

Friday I posted 20 questions to creatively fill up conversation dead space. If you haven’t noticed, our conversations are in major need of some fresh life. We’ve grown lazy in our ability to connect with one another.

This is tough to do the older we get. We get comfortable, develop habits and have a pickle of a time trying to do something different. This is why, if you have children, I suggest you start this kind of relationship-building dialogue when they’re young.

I have three boys and have long been determined that they grow up knowing how to have a conversation with their wives and children someday. This hasn’t always been easy, especially for the family members who are conversationally challenged. However, like any skill, it’s the exercise and practice of it that helps the communication muscle to grow.

The best tool I’ve found for practicing communication in the family is The Ungame. Like it’s name implies, it isn’t really a game. Instead, it’s a small box of question cards. It comes in various age-levels and is relatively inexpensive ($8 – $12). Small enough to fit in a purse or drawer, we keep it next to the kitchen table and take it on road trips and vacations.

After we finish dinner each night, we do one round of The Ungame. Each person draws a single card from the pile, reads it out loud and then answers the question. Some are simple and easy to answer, like “What country would you like to visit?” Others require more thought: “Tell about a time you felt ashamed.” No one else at the table is allowed to talk while the other person is answering the question on their card. AND we don’t move to the next person until the first person is finished.

It’s an easy and inexpensive way to get conversation going. And we’ve learned a lot about each other during that extra 10 minutes at the dinner table.

How do you ignite conversation in your family?

(picture provide courtesy of afreeta, stock.xchng)


  1. Jerolyn

    Great idea. Sounds similar to the Table Talk cards.

    • Michele Cushatt

      Hmmm … don't think I'm familiar with Table Talk cards.


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