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If you are one of the families who are lucky enough to share lunch and dinner all together, keep doing it! But not only that, take advantage of this moment to improve communication with your children and strengthen ties. We tell you about what to talk to the children at mealtime, depending on their age.
That good communication is necessary for family harmony is not a secret, however it is not always so easy to achieve. And it is that, sometimes the same adults do not know how to communicate assertively between us, so doing it with the smallest of the house can become more complex than it seems at first glance.
However, it is important to know that children who develop this type of communication from a very early age with their family members are more self-confident, express their feelings much better, and have a greater capacity for interaction in other environments in which they live. that unfolds. So, it is clear that trying to improve communication with our children is a necessary task, so we can always go the extra mile for it.
One of the easiest ways to begin to build fluent family communication is to allow a certain space and time to do so, but without involving an obligation or too forced a moment. Thus, many communication experts recommend lunch or dinner time to take advantage of improving family communication, since it is usually a time when all members of the family have the opportunity to get together with the wonderful excuse of savoring and enjoying food.
Some families whose communication has been cultivated in a positive way over the years find other spaces, such as an hour in the afternoon for family reunions, but this will always depend on the time available to favor these moments for our children. Anyway, the important thing is to find that moment in which all the members of the family get together or, at least, the mother or father with their children.
Any family communicates, since communication is an essential aspect of being human. However, positive and assertive communication skills are acquired with practice, so there is no better place to learn than within the family. These are some tips to improve family communication at lunch or dinner (or other bonding time).
1. Don't force themes
It is natural for any parent to want to know if their son or daughter has good friends, if they are harassed, if they are progressing properly with their studies, etc. However, we cannot expect our children to tell us their entire lives if they were not used to doing so before. In addition, it must also be respected that they have the right to their privacy or to tell it at the moment they feel confident.
Therefore, the ideal thing is that you do not try to talk about a certain topic without there being a specific reason for it. For example, if you want to talk about bullying, maybe you can talk about a case that you know, that you have heard on television, a series that you have seen on Netflix on the subject ... etc. In this way, you help your child have the opportunity to be the one who decides to talk about it.
2. Create a climate of trust
Don't judge your children by the topics they discuss at the table. Sometimes they will be serious issues, other times they will be superfluous issues that are important to them, other times they will want to create an atmosphere of play while eating, etc. Adapting a little to the family climate that is being created in the interaction of a meal is essential so that all members of the family feel in total confidence to communicate with each other.
3. Out with technology?
Experts often recommend avoiding the use of television or mobiles during meals so that family members are not distracted and want to interact with each other. However, we also have to adapt a little to technologies, since our children were born with them. For example, there is nothing wrong with one of your children being able to show a 2 minute YouTube video on a topic that interests them, from which they can create an interesting and fruitful conversation.
If this happens one day, it does not mean that it will be like that every day, simply that your child maybe that particular day he wanted to share something he liked with you. Even so, this topic can be sensitive for some parents, so it will always be their decision.
4. Freedom is essential
If you want your children to tell you about their problems one day, they must feel free to do so, and for this it is essential that they establish free communication with you on a daily basis. Do not limit the topics of conversation at lunch or dinner, there is nothing that cannot be discussed in a calm way.
5. You can talk about everything, both good and bad
Assertive and positive communication does not mean that all family conversation topics are about lighthearted topics. Sometimes things happen in the family that need to be discussed, for example an uncle's illness, or there may be a social issue you want to talk about, like an election or a climate tragedy.
Now, it is important to leave the problems of the nuclear family for another time, whether they are between parents or if they are between parents with their children. For example, if your child is not doing well in school, constantly scolding him at the table is not the best strategy, and mealtime is a time to socialize and communicate assertively.
6. Ask intentional questions
Teach your child to give his opinion by offering him the possibility to do so with a question. ‘What do you think?’ Do you agree? ’,‘ What do you think about this issue? ’… They are open questions that invite you to speak and share your opinion.
Listen to what your children have to say without judging them harshly and without holding back their ideas when they don't match yours. If you think there is a topic they are wrongly focusing on, simply give your point of view with an 'I think ...', or 'It seems to me that ...'. For them your opinion will always be a reference, let them reach their own conclusions and trust their good judgment.
Some may still have their 'rag tongue' and it takes a little effort to understand them, but they also have a voice and want to express a lot. Communication with them can sometimes be easier (they are more spontaneous), but also more difficult (you have to be aware that they eat)
- Nursery or college themes: Asking about their friends is always a good resource.
- One of his favorite places of leisure is the park, so talking about it can help you a lot to get to know your little one more.
- The family. His world is still very small and his reference persons are his parents, siblings and grandparents. Talk about these figures so important to them can be very useful.
As the child grows, the theme varies. We propose some conversation topics that may be interesting or draw attention to your children if they are between 5 and 10 years old. Take note!
- Funny situations at school.
- Topics on imagination: what would your superpower be if you were a superhero, what animal would you be ...
- The school: what would you like to change about school, who is your favorite teacher and why, what subject do you like the most, games at recess….
- Topics about friends: tell me something funny about a friend, who is your best friend ...
- Gossip: between classmates from school, from extracurricular activities, etc. (It can help you detect cases of harassment) Always only to know, as a curiosity, never to judge others.
- Gratitude: why are you grateful today, with whom are you grateful ...
With the turn of the decade, many children leave behind their most innocent part. Although they are still children, they want to be older, so their dialogue and interests vary.
- Event topics of the world today.
- Bullying (without forcing, without asking if they are harassing you directly).
- Topics on sexuality: sexually transmitted diseases, ways to protect oneself, what is sex ... if the child brings up the subject or is curious, or perhaps they are seeing it at school.
- Dreams to fulfill.
- Values: What do you value about the family? How does one have to be a good friend? How to help the elderly? How to improve the environment?
- Relationships between friends,
- Type games What do you prefer? (example: do you prefer to eat only chocolate or eat only salad?)
- Topics on spirituality: Do you think God is with us? Is there something you want to know about your beliefs or our beliefs?
At the time of pre-adolescence and adolescence, emotions are running high, hence many parents have difficulty getting into their child's head and knowing what is wrong with them. Here's a help!
- Transcendental themes: What does love mean? What do we do as a society for the environment? ...
- Topics about love relationships: the idea of romantic love, gender equality, toxic relationships, jealousy ...
- Fun themes: jokes, puns, crazy videos, crazy events ...
- Curious things that happened to us today.
- Dreams and personal and professional aspirations.
- Sensitive issues in adolescence: drug addiction, alcoholism, STDs, sexuality, anorexia, self-esteem ...
- Topics on events of the world today: politics, sports, etc.
You can read more articles similar to What to talk to children about at mealtime, according to their age, in the category of Dialogue and communication on site.