Table Talk

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The Laughing Game

Here’s a great idea for a game you can play at the family dinner table. The Laughing Game. Everyone laugh like Mom. Everyone laugh like Dad. Everyone laugh like… who’s next?

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Sweeten Your Dinner with a Cup of Gratitude

thanksgiving

After reading the 10 newest recipes for how to roast the perfect turkey (are they ever really new?), after writing then losing the mile long grocery list, and after all the shopping and prepping, stuffing, and table setting is done…take a breath. Light the candles. Invite everyone to sit down around the table and just for a moment let’s talk about what Thanksgiving is really about…

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Turn off Those Phones and the TV

couple with teenager son  during breakfast

A study from the Centre for Child and Family Health Promotion Research at the University of Minnesota suggests that using media devices (like smart phones, computers, and the TV) during dinner leads to poorer communication, and interestingly, poorer nutrition.

Parents who reported frequent media use at the table also were less likely to serve fresh vegetables and fruits, and more likely to offer sugar-sweetened beverages.

So turn off those electronic devices during the family dinner!

For more on the study, click here.

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Gratitudes

Make the expression of gratitude part of your family dinner ritual. However you say it — with a prayer or blessing, a question for the table, quotes, stories, a few simple words of thanks — gratitude is a basic ingredient to a healthy life.

Here’s an idea: print out some pre-written “gratitude quotes” and place one under each person’s dinner plate. At an appropriate moment, explain that everyone has a special quote under their plate and go around the table reading them. It’s a great way to get everyone involved in expressing gratitude.

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The Category Word Game

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Games to play at the table are a great way to get the conversation going during family dinner. Here’s one we like, the Category Word Game:

Pick a category and everyone lists one thing from that category. Go around as many times as is entertaining. For example, the category is summer. I say watermelon, the next person says flip-flops, the next person says beach blanket, and so on. The classic version of this is to play it as a memory game. The person repeats the answers before theirs and then adds their own. We use this game a lot in restaurants waiting for food.

“Picnic” is another fun variation on this game. The first person starts by saying, “I’m going on a picnic and I am bringing salami.” The next person says, “I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing salami and crusty bread,” and around the table you go. Trust us—it soon gets hard and makes your mouth water! Next thing you know, you’ll be planning a picnic!

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