Nourishing. Chaotic. Fun. Exhausting. These are all words I’ve probably used to describe family dinner time at our house. With two young kids, getting a meal on the table and enjoying it (at least somewhat) can be tough. But truthfully, it’s one of my favorite parts of the day. It’s time for us all to reconnect, and sitting around the dinner table is one place where I see my little ones’ big personalities emerging.
Sharing a meal together as a family can be beneficial in so many ways. Research suggests the benefits for kids are widespread and include better academic performance, higher self-esteem, and bigger vocabulary in preschoolers. Additionally, eating together gives adults the opportunity to model healthy eating habits, table manners, and to share important conversations.
If it feels tricky to get a conversation going at the dinner table, especially on those chaotic nights, know that there are many right ways to have a wonderful family meal. As much as possible, stay away from commenting on how much kids are eating or labeling foods as good vs. bad. Instead, keep things light and fun and ask questions that require more than a yes or no answer. Channel your inner toddler and ask why to get more information!
Get the conversation started at your next meal by asking one or two of the questions below. Don’t forget—parents can answer and kids can ask questions, too!
33 Family Dinner Questions to Spark Conversations
Dinner Questions for Preschoolers (2.5-5 years)
1. What was the best part of your day?
2. What’s something that made you laugh today?
3. Can you guess what ingredients are in our meal?
4. What is your favorite thing to play?
5. What are you really good at?
6. What do you want to be when you grow up?
7. Who did you have fun with today?
8. If you could be any animal, what would it be and why?
9. Would you rather live underwater or up in the clouds?
Questions for Little Kids (6-10 years)
10. How did you help someone today?
11. Tell me about something nice someone did for you today.
12. What are you excited about for tomorrow?
13. How would you rate your day on a scale from 1-10, and why?
14. What is something you learned today?
15. What did you read today?
16. If you had a superpower, what would it be?
17. What makes you a great friend?
18. What’s your favorite thing about school?
19. What would you do if you had a million dollars?
20. If today had a newspaper headline, what would it be?
21. What would your perfect day be like?
22. What do you wonder about?
23. How did today compare to yesterday?
Dinner Questions for Big Kids (11+ years)
24. What’s something that made you feel proud today and why did it make you feel that way?
25. What was the hardest part of your day?
26. What happened today that made you feel smart?
27. If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
28. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
29. What’s one thing you want to learn about?
30. What is your favorite family tradition?
31. If you could meet anyone from history, who would it be?
32. If you could speak another language, what would it be (and why)?
33. If you could do something from this week differently, what would it be?