For an entire week I tried a little something different at the kitchen table. My kids seem to have a hard time just eating. They like to play and joke around instead of filling their bellies. I must say that I have really learned a little bit more about my family. Armed with this information I can have a little more direction for activities that we can do later.
On a whim I decided to distract them a little and ask questions. The first rule was that they were not to take a single bite until after they talked. I let each person answer the question with just one answer and then allowed them to take a bite.
Now these questions were not vague and had to require a little bit of thinking. Not just the "how was your day" but more those that were a little more direct. Topics to questions can be anything from naming something that happened today to what would you like to be when you grow up. I asked each of them what they wanted to grow in the garden and what their favorite game to play was. Each of them told me what they would like to learn how to cook and different recipes they would like to try. I definitely learned what each kid would like to do with dad or myself when it is their turn for some one on one time. There is so much you can learn about kids in just a matter of 30 minutes. My kids are still very young and they were more than happy to talk about themselves. Each day brought more insight and even more questions. To mix it up a little I let the kids start asking questions and working around the table to listen to each others answer. Sometimes the questions went around more than once and some of the answers were getting a little silly, but you can not replace the quality time that had spent really getting to know what is going on in your kids' heads.
I realize that a busy household has a little bit of difficulty really coming together to have a meal. With today's hectic schedules and everyone trying to buzz about to get things done around the house, it is hard to actually make quality time with the family. Not only are you teaching good communication skills but you are really bonding with your kids and letting them talk about what is important to them. I may just try something like this the next time we eat at a restaurant.