Around the Table-Communicating with our Children

This week we will be sharing about the importance of developing good communication with the members of your family. Summer time schedules are more relaxed and there is less urgency in the daily routine. This is a perfect time to start some new fun traditions around the table. It can be at breakfast when the children are beginning their day or at dinnertime when dad is home and everyone is settling in after a fun summer day full of activities. Some families have a table full of talkative children while others struggle to get their kids to answer questions with more than one word answers.
We raised girls, so talking around the table was not a difficult thing to accomplish. They all seemed eager to share their thoughts and discuss the newest activities they were involved in each night. We occasionally had to referee who needed to take a break and let another sister have a turn, but for the most part we had a lively dinner conversation each night. When our daughters had friends over we usually had to warn the visitors about the topics that might come up at dinner since my husband is a Pediatrician. He would never share anything confidential but he would tell some of the funny things he talks about with the kids.
But for some of my friends, it was a different story. Some moms would complain that they never knew what was going on because their kids just didn’t talk much. So whether you have talkers or non-talkers, it is important to create a safe and healthy environment with your children regarding communication. Children should feel understood and be allowed to ask questions and talk freely with you about any subject. They should feel very secure knowing that if they ask you to keep something confidential, that you will. That excludes information that might be life-threatening or dangerous.
Most of us as parents have at one time or another struggled to engage in meaningful conversation with our children? The dinner table is an excellent place to start! Focus on the Family made a list of 50 discussion topics that can keep the communication lines open and allow you a glimpse into your child’s heart and mind.
Here are some of my favorite questions from their list. For the complete list click here .

• How do you like people to show that they love you or appreciate you?
• Name one special family activity you’d like to do in the remaining days of summer vacation.
• Do you sometimes find yourself daydreaming when you’re supposed to be paying attention? Is it hard for you to stop daydreaming? What kinds of things do you daydream about?
• What would you like your best friend to be able to say about you four years from now?
• Can complaining sometimes be helpful? How does complaining affect others?
• How did you help someone today, and how did someone help you?
• Suppose you have no one to play with at school. What could you say or do to start a friendship?
• If you were asked to design a new theme park ride for Disneyland, what would your ride be like?
• If you could travel back in time to give your “earlier” self some advice, what would you tell yourself?
• What thought inspires you to be generous?
• Do we ever use our cellphones in ways that seem rude to you or that make you feel unimportant?

• What’s your latest, greatest, favorite worship song?
• What’s the biggest thing you are trusting God for right now?
• How can we do better as a family at praying for one another?
• God’s Word talks about handling failure well. Can you recall some of the things it says about that? (For starters, see Hebrews 10:36.)
• What does hope mean? How does God give us hope? How do we pass it on to others?
• What do you like best about going to our church?
• What does it mean to have a calling from God? Does every Christian have a calling?
• Have you had an answer to prayer lately? Tell what happened.

I am also including an additional resource page put together by Focus on the Family. Their newest topic is the gift of being heard…parents are given skills to engage in a conversation with their child and this article teaches a child how to respectfully speak in their own defense when there has been a misunderstanding. This article has categories like respectful behavior, connected families, chores, playdates and more. Click here for more information on effective communication.

What are your favorite ways and resources to improve communication around your table?

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