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Favorite Ways to Connect at the Table


I’m a huge fan of using games, word play and conversation starters to get the discussion going at the dinner table. Here are some of my favorites:

1. The Pet Peeve and Idiosyncrasy game. This is a sure fire way to get everyone chatting at the table. First, be sure to define and differentiate between “Pet Peeves” (annoyances) and “Idiosyncrasies” (any personal peculiarity or mannerism). It’s fun to debate the subtle difference with your family! Once you’ve done this, go around the table and ask each person to name a pet peeve and one of their idiosyncrasies. (You can do them as separate rounds or together.) And as an addendum, if your family has a good sense of humor and they aren’t sensitive types, you can play a version of the game where you name one another’s idiosyncrasies and pet peeves. (Believe me, they know more of your quirks than you do!)

2. Something I Like About Myself. This one is pretty self explanatory! And it’s really easy to get the little ones at the table talking. A version of this game is saying something that you like about the person to your right and go around the table. Try to be creative!

3. Highs and Lows. This one is a classic. Everyone goes around the table and says the high point of their day and the low point. It’s a great way to hear about what happened at school or practice that day without the usual “how was your day, honey?” “Fine.” conversation! The Obamas play a version of this game that they call “Rose and Thorn.”

4. Would You Rather… I have a whole list of these hypothetical questions in The Family Dinner book (Would you rather jump in a cold pool or do an extra hour of homework? Would you rather go bowling or shopping for pants?) And it’s fun to have everyone come up with their own as well.

Let us know. What works at your table to get the conversation going?


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