A couple of weeks ago when we were in the early stages of social distancing, my teenager asked if we could not talk so loudly in the living room about coronavirus and everything in the news.
“I can hear you from the bedroom and I am just tired of talking about it 24/7. I need a break.”
There is a lot of talk around coronavirus right now. As adults, we may not realize just how much our kids are absorbing—from their parents, on the news, with their peers. Think of all the topics that have now become “COVID-19-related” topics that weren’t before—school closures, activity cancellations, schoolwork at home, and Zoom events. A simple question like “How is your distance learning going?” now brings the conversation back to current events.
Our kids’ brains (and our brains) need a break from time to time! I have found this is especially true around mealtimes where I would find myself asking questions about the next day’s virtual schedule. So, to switch things up a bit, I pulled out our old copy of The Book of Questions by Gregory Stock, Ph.D. Since I have a teenager, this book worked pretty well. But if I went digging through more old boxes, I’m sure I could find our copy of The Kids’ Book of Questions, too. We pull questions from the book and add our own questions each night to share fun memories. It has been a great way to pass along family stories and has honestly become a favorite part of our time at home together.
Here is my family’s list of twenty fun, engaging, and sometimes humorous conversation starters that have nothing related to COVID-19. I hope these spark great discussions the next time you sit down around the table together.
- Share a fun memory from ____ grade. (You choose! 1st, 5th, 12th)
- What is your favorite holiday and why?
- If you could only watch one movie for the rest of your life, what movie would it be?
- Share a favorite summer vacation. What about it did you like? Was it the places you went? The things you did? The things you saw?
- What has been your most creative Halloween costume?
- Share a fun birthday memory. How old were you? What made it special?
- Would you prefer to visit the mountains or the ocean? Why?
- Is a hot dog a sandwich? Is cereal a soup?
- If you could have one superpower, what would it be? Why?
- Share the story of how you met ____. (Your best friend, your spouse, etc.)
- If you could change one family rule, what would you change?
- If you could be fluent in every single language OR play every single musical instrument well, which would you choose?
- What is the funniest thing that ever happened to you?
- If you could live in any book, which would you choose?
- What is your earliest memory?
- Share all the places you have lived in. Do you have a favorite? Least favorite?
- What is your favorite smell? What memory does it remind you of?
- Describe your perfect day.
- If you could make any vegetable against the law, which one would it be?
- What’s something you’ve won and how did you win it?
There you have it—twenty questions to switch up the conversations your family is having each day. What questions would you add to your dinner-time topics?
Emily Schmall – Emily is the Senior Manager of Program Resources at Girl Scouts River Valleys. She graduated from the University of Minnesota and has a background in visual arts, education, curriculum development, and volunteer management. Emily was a Girl Scout growing up and now leads her daughter’s troop of spirited teenagers. She lives in the St. Paul area where she enjoys hanging with the fam and going on adventures with their rescue dog, Dory. In her (non-Girl Scout related) free time, Emily enjoys photography, playing the ukulele, and attending the Minnesota State Fair.