Tips for a happy, chatty, family dinner table!

dinner table banter

As I always say, the golden rule at the dinner table with fussy eaters is to give them their food and then say nothing more about it. Take the focus away from the food. TALK ABOUT OTHER STUFF!

Huh! Easier said than done, right?

How was school? you ask your six year old. Okay, they reply. What did you do at nursery today? you ask your three year old. Can’t remember, they mumble. Ooh, this is scintillating, you think to yourself. I could sit and chat to you guys all day.

Here’s a couple of tips to improve things:

1. An easy trick to suck them into telling you snippets and stories from their day is to get them to give it a score. What do you give today out of 10? you ask. Let’s say they give it a 8 out of 10. Ooh, that’s pretty high. What made it so good, and where does it lose two points? you ask. Well, at playtime me and Phoebe were playing with ants and we were making little houses for them out of twigs and stones and things and it was really really fun, they explain, but then Leila came along and stamped on all the ants and…  And they’re off! Then do the same for your day to make it a two-way thing. A real conversation.

2. Another idea is to buy a pack of ‘conversation cards’ like these and have them in the middle of the table. You could make your own cards if you can come up with some groovy question ideas of your own. Turn a card over and take it in turns to answer the question on it. If you could have any superpower, what would it be? the first one might say. It may seem artificial, contrived, forced even, but it is simply a springboard to get things going more naturally – one question can end up spinning off in all directions ­– and to help to make the dinner table a place your fussy eater actually enjoys hanging out!

Have you tried the Jam Tart Tray Dinner with your kids yet?