100 Conversation Starters To Increase Your Family’s Connectedness
Have fun with these conversation starters as you connect with your family by chatting it up with each other using these silly and serious questions!
Topic 1: Family
- Describe our family in one word.
- What is your favorite family memory?
- What is your most memorable family holiday?
- The official food of our family would be…
- If our family had a sponsorship with a company or organization, who would sponsor our family?
- Our family receives an all-expense-paid trip to anywhere for a week. But we must all agree on the location. Where do we go?
- Besides people or pets, what is our family’s most prized possession?
- If you could change one thing about our family, what would it be?
- If our family had to enter a talent competition, what talent gives our family the best chance to win?
- What is the BEST part of our family?
Topic 2: Would You Rather…
- Spend the night in a supposedly haunted house or camp out in a cemetery?
- Be stranded on an island with someone you can’t stand or be stranded by yourself?
- Pet a snake or pet a rat?
- Go without brushing your teeth or go without a shower for a month?
- Live with someone who doesn’t brush or someone who doesn’t shower?
- Read people’s minds or see into the future?
- Not be able to watch tv/play video games or go to bed at 6PM for a month?
- No wi-fi/cellular service or no pizza for the rest of your life?
- Have a family chef or a family housekeeper?
- Accidentally fart or burp loudly at a restaurant?
Topic 3: Which Is Better & Why?
- Cake or Pie?
- Water Park or Amusement Park?
- Waffles or Pancakes?
- Water, Sport/Energy Drink, or Soda?
- Family Game Night or Family Movie Night?
- Driving or Flying?
- Going to a lake or Going to the Ocean?
- Leftovers for Breakfast or Breakfast for Dinner?
- Read the Book or Watch the Movie?
- Shopping for Shoes or Shopping for Clothes?
Topic 4: All About Mom and Dad
- What kind of student were you in school?
- We have to make a fast getaway! Who do we want driving—Mom or Dad?
- New nicknames for Mom and Dad are…?
- What do you appreciate the most about Mom?
- What do you appreciate the most about Dad?
- Earliest memory of your mom?
- Earliest memory of your dad?
- When have your parent(s) totally embarrassed you?
- If you really want something, who do you go to, Mom or Dad?
- Funniest memory about Mom/Dad is…?
Topic 5: All About The Kids
- If your kids could go anywhere on vacation where would they want to go?
- What are your kid’s “superpowers?”
- When have your kids surprised you in a good way?
- What chores do your kids hate the most?
- What is one house rule your kids would want to change the most?
- Your kids have a couple of hours of free time, what do they do?
- What are your kids most afraid of?
- Name as many of your kids’ friends as you can.
- What are your kids’ “spirit animals?”
- What are your favorite moments with your kids?
Topic 6: Nothing But The Best
- You’ve ever felt?
- Team/group/club you’ve been a part of?
- Clothes you’ve ever worn?
- Song you’ve ever heard?
- Dance you’ve ever seen?
- Thing you’ve ever seen someone do for someone else?
- Gift you’ve ever received?
- Family vacation?
Topic 7: The Absolute Worst
What’s the worst…
- Job you could ever have?
- Movie you’ve ever seen?
- Song you’ve ever heard?
- Video game you’ve ever played?
- Grade you’ve ever gotten?
- Joke you’ve ever heard?
- Book you’ve ever read?
- Thing you’ve ever eaten?
- You’ve ever felt?
- Restaurant our family has eaten at?
Topic 8: Money
- You have only $50 and we’re going to Walmart. What will you buy?
- You have $1,000 to make the world a better place. What do you do with it?
- What is the most valuable thing you own?
- House is burning; you can only get one thing. What do you get?
- Name one thing important to you which money can’t buy?
- One thing you’ve bought that you wish you could take back and get a refund?
- Name one thing you would like to save money to buy?
- Name one thing you would like to save money to do?
- If you had to sell $100 worth of your belongings, what would you sell?
- You have only $1. What are you going to spend it on?
Topic 9: Wildcard
- Favorite season of the year? Why?
- Nicest thing you have ever done for someone?
- If you could be any animal for a day, what animal would be?
- Your dream job would be…?
- Why are french fries “French?”
- Would you rather run away from a bear through mud or swim away from a shark in maple syrup?
- Would you rather play catch with an egg or play frisbee with a frozen fish?
- Name a natural food that is blue. (Not “blueberries” or candy!) I know, right?!
- What time period would you like to have lived in—the wild west or medieval times?
- Win a championship in a team sport or an individual sport? What sport?
Topic 10: The Future
- One invention that needs to be invented? Be “uninvented?”
- Where would you go if the end of the world were coming?
- Zombie Apocalypse! What do you do?
- Will the world be a better or worse place in 20 years? Why?
- How will people travel in the year 2120?
- For each member of the family: Most Likely To ______? Why?
- What’s popular now that won’t be popular at all in 5 years?
- How will people communicate with someone they’re not face to face with in 20 years?
- In 30 years, where will you live? What will be your job? Will you have a family? What will you do for fun?
- Do you look toward the future more with worry or anticipation? Why?
Ready to take a short family connectedness quiz?
- Who is your child’s favorite teacher of all time?
- What is your spouse’s favorite thing to do in his/her spare time?
- What is your child’s favorite meal?
- Given the opportunity for a night out, how would your spouse prefer to spend the evening?
- What person outside the family has most influenced your child’s life?
- What accomplishment is your child most proud of?
- If money were no object, what one thing would your spouse most want to purchase?
- What household chore does your spouse dislike the most?
- Who is your child’s hero?
- What makes your spouse feel truly loved?
Now, go check out your answers to see how close you were to getting them right. Being truly connected to your family is the only way to know all the answers to these questions.
“From a cultural standpoint, the connections that people have with one another and through social networks have been shown to improve the mental, physical and spiritual health of individuals,” said Christopher Brown, anthropologist and president of the National Fatherhood Initiative. “There is something that happens physiologically when people are connected, which is why people do better when they are involved in healthy relationships with others.”
One of the most powerful relationships is between a parent and child. Studies show that parents are the first and most important teachers of children. Kids thrive when they can depend on a reliable parent when they need to talk, when they want input, when they need a hug, or want assurance that life will work out.
Research from the University of Michigan found that the connectedness that takes place during frequent meal times with the family was the single strongest predictor of better achievement scores and fewer behavioral problems, even better than time spent studying or in a faith setting.
Experts agree that:
- Conversation at the dinner table shows to increase children’s mental and verbal abilities;
- Eating together promotes good communication, and strengthens family bonds and relationships;
- Families who regularly eat together have more cohesion and unity; and
- Family meals give children a sense of security.
Connections count every day of the year. If you didn’t do so well with the quiz above, this could be a great opportunity for you to re-evaluate how you connect in your home.
This article originally published in the Chattanooga Times Free Press on November 18, 2018. Click here to read the entire article.
Technology and the family has changed so much. Years ago, people actually had to get up to answer the phone, the computer occasionally used to write papers, and the television only had three channels.
Now, people answer the phone everywhere, including the dinner table and the bathroom. While people write papers on computers, they often spend more time on Facebook or the Internet than actually accomplishing something.
And only three channels? Those days are over. On-screen viewing options are virtually limitless.
So how does all this technology impact families?
- A 2010 American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers survey showed that 1 in 5 American divorces involve Facebook. And, 81 percent of divorce lawyers have reported a spike in cases that use social media for evidence.
- One pastor even asked his congregants to quit using Facebook. Why? It’s because he saw so many couples experiencing marital problems because of connections to old flames through social media.
- Research conducted by Teenage Research Unlimited (TRU) showed that nearly a quarter of teens have communicated with a boyfriend or girlfriend hourly between midnight and 5 a.m. via cell phone or texting. One in 6 communicated 10 or more times an hour through the night.
- Many experts claim that texting contributes to sleep deprivation because most kids sleep with their phone within reach. It’s hard for them to resist checking the notifications.
- According to a 2010 Pew Internet study, fully 72% of all teens – or 88% of teen cell phone users — text. Among all teens, their frequent texting has now overtaken the frequency of every other common form of interaction with their friends, including face-to-face interactions. For example, teens use texting to enhance friendships, handle a conflict, begin and end romantic relationships and even to mediate difficult conversations.
- The average person watches four hours of television daily, which equals six months of eight-hour days.
From family dinners and vacations to date nights and even Christmas morning, families are being slammed from every direction with technology, all in the name of staying connected. But, is staying connected with the outside world as important as staying connected with the people closest to you?
Perhaps one of the best things we can do is truly connect with each other. Families who are engaged with each other actually do better in every area of life.
Consider these questions:
- Can you establish “no technology” time zones? For example, no cell phones or television at the dinner table – parents included. Maybe teens can leave phones in the kitchen at night and computers in public spaces. Perhaps time limits for social media could be helpful?
- Would you rather your child participate in family game night or play a game on Xbox alone instead?
- Is a family meal more constructive than family members eating on their own in front of a screen?
- When your child applies for a job, will he be able to verbally communicate?
Technology is a lot like money. Families can either learn how to control how much technology invades their world or they can let it control them. Which would you prefer?
Looking for more? Check out this episode of JulieB TV for an in-depth look on this topic!
The Value of Family Meals
For more than 40 years, Lynn and Pat Panter have been hosting family dinner on Sundays.
“It’s funny, this is just something we have always done,” says Lynn Panter. “When our children were little, we had Sunday dinner. As they got older, we kept on doing it. Here we are 40 years later with grown children, spouses, boyfriends and grandchildren seated around the table.”
Unlike some, the Panters don’t require or expect anyone to come for family dinners.
“There is no pressure to come,” Lynn says. “If they have something else to do, they know they are free to go do it with no repercussions for not being present. We usually have between eight and 16 people seated around the table on any given Sunday.”
Between the laughter, the stories and discussions about their day, it is always a lively experience and a great way for the family to connect.
“Even though my husband was on the road a lot when our daughters were young, the expectation was that we all ate dinner together,” Lynn says. “This was our time to catch up with each other and the events of the day. It kept us connected even when schedules were hectic.”
Research shows that regular and meaningful family meals offer a variety of benefits both to children and adults. Studies suggest that having dinner together as a family at least four times a week positively affects child development and is linked to lower obesity risk, decreased likelihood of substance abuse and eating disorders, and an increased chance of graduating from high school.
Additionally, meals provide a sense of family unity and identity as well as teaching traditions. Discussions around the dinner table not only give children an opportunity to express themselves, they also teach them to wait their turn to speak and hear many different perspectives. In some instances, they learn how to agree or disagree.
Family meals help parents transmit their values from one generation to the next and teach good table manners and etiquette. These times together as a family create a bond and shared memories that children carry with them long into adulthood.
The key to the success of these gatherings is making them technology-free zones – no televisions, tablets, or cellphones allowed.
“Some people probably wonder why we still have the Sunday dinners.” Lynn says. “I think the biggest reason we still do it is because we really enjoy being together. We look forward to catching up with each other. It’s not formal and everybody pitches in — which is a good thing. In order to do something like this, you need to enjoy doing it, otherwise, it becomes a burden.”
If you realize the value of family meals and it has been on your “to-do” list, this is the time to make it happen. Set a date, keep it simple and watch what happens. Younger family members may balk at first, but once they get in the routine, they will look forward to time together. Who knows what may be happening at your house 40 years from now?