Get Conversation Going at Your Dinner Table
Make dinnertime a family affair.
At Global Gardens the visible growth of the garden is powered by much conversation and focus on our students’ thoughts and words. The Global Gardens child-led approach ensures that these conversations shape our program including the creation of the recent Global Gardens journal and community projects such as Set the Table Tulsa.
In 2012 Global Gardens set out to challenge Tulsans to do something that seems simple enough but has big implications – to sit down as a family and eat at least four meals together a week during the month of November. Since then, hundreds of people have taken the Set the Table Tulsa challenge, including many of the Global Gardens’ students and their families. Although everyone’s meal table looks a little different, the goal is the same – to take time to sit down and eat together, making conversation the main dish.
In this issue of TulsaKids you’ll find more information about the challenge, including meal ideas for busy families. However, as parents we often think it’s our responsibility to lead the conversation, but then get frustrated when our kids don’t seem to have much to offer beyond “yes,” “no” or “I don’t know” responses.
Instead of starting a meal by asking questions directed at your kids, why not let your children lead the conversation? By encouraging kids to ask questions, they become curious and motivated to learn and engage with the world around them. Take some time this month to encourage your kids to take the lead when it comes to mealtime conversation. You never know where the conversation might end up!
If you want to make sure to have conversation starters, consider making “table talk cards.” Your children can come up with questions and design table talk cards that will jumpstart conversations. As you know, kids are known to say and ask the darndest things. Happy eating, questioning and chatting this month with your family!
Bring the whole family for a picnic lunch and opportunity to make projects for your family table this month, including table talk cards. Bring a lunch and a Global Gardens journal if you have one. The event is free and open to the public.
Journals can be purchased online at www.global-gardens.org. To learn more about Set the Table Tulsa, visit www.setthetabletulsa.org.
Table Talk Card Activity:
- Various papers
- Crayons/markers, colored pencils, pen/pencil
- Bring your family together.
- Discuss the idea of conversation-starter cards and what people use them for.
- Allow each family member some space to consider questions that you would love to ask your family during mealtime. Make sure they are questions that will elicit longer stories from each person!
- Write one question down per sheet, and then liven it up with decorations!