It’s the time of year when families gather around the table, celebrating their holiday traditions and remembering what really matters. Every family is different with a wide range of traditions and ways that they engage in conversation. While some sit around the table, and talk of the day, politics, work or school. Others might simply sit and enjoy the food. Some families gather around the TV and watch shows together or discuss sports. Regardless, the range of differences is enormous but for each unique home, it passes for normal. So as you gather around the table, remember it is about being together.
So here are some suggestions as you are talking around the table with your family:
- Eating together doesn’t have to be a chore. Nor does it always have to be organized and arranged. Sometimes just having everyone sit together is an accomplishment and while we as parents might hope there is going to be some magical moment of connection, that is not always the case. If there is not, that doesn’t mean the effort was in vain.
- If your family enjoys conversations regarding politics, theology, economics, or any other serious topic, don’t be afraid to interject humor. Laughter always lessens tension and helps eliminate the possibility of having an argument.
- Ask open ended questions that lead to further conversation. A staple question for most people and parents is “how was your day. That kind of question can be answered with one word or a grunt. Try making it an open ended question by saying; “tell me about your day.
- You cannot legislate conversation, so whether you are talking or just being quiet, make sure you tune into what is going on in other people’s lives by paying attention.
- Give others the opportunity to explain their thoughts.
- It is okay for your children to hear you wrestling through challenges. This gives them permission to talk about things they might be struggling with as well. When they are ready to talk, make yourself available.
Sign up for our monthly newsletter and weekly devotional