You’ve probably got a few go-to tricks to get your kids talking about their day after school or at the dinner table. But sometimes you all need a break from talking about your daily “highs and lows” or “rose, thorn and bud” over bowls of spaghetti. Sometimes it’s more fun to discuss something totally random, like “How old is old?” or “If you could start your own business, what would it be?”
My husband, nine-year-old son and I love playing games together and we love random conversations, so we tried out a set of Little Talk conversation starters over the weekend while we ate dinner. I discovered that my son’s main goal right now is to improve his basketball shot, that his friends say their favourite thing about him is his inherent silliness, and that he’s always wanted to visit San Francisco. (That last one, in particular, was a surprise.)
The questions are broken up into six categories: hopes and dreams, reflection, likes and dislikes, self-expression, emotional intelligence, and random. We didn’t pay attention to the categories too much, though, opting instead to pick a card, any card, from the box. I think my son most enjoyed when it was his turn to pick a card and ask us a question.
But I also found that he was thinking about the questions long after dinner was cleaned up. One question in particular—What do you think grown-ups don’t understand?—came back up later when he wanted to explain to me why a messy room is better than a clean room. Apparently there are lots of things that grown-ups don’t understand.
At around $38 per set, a deck of Little Talks is, admittedly, a bit of an investment. (Although, BestSelf Co., which makes the game, advertises that they donate one meal to Feeding America with every purchase, so that’s something to feel good about.)
But if the price is too steep, you can take the idea and make your own personalised version. Grab some paper and write out your own questions. Fold each question up and toss them into a bowl or jar. Your kids might want to contribute their own questions, too.
Here, I’ll make up a few to get you started:
What is your favourite outfit and why?
What’s a new skill you want to learn this year?
What’s better—morning, afternoon or evening, and why?
If you had your own aeroplane, where would you fly to?
If you had to choose between giving up music forever or TV forever, which would you pick?
What is the best dessert and why?
Which is better: A day at the beach or a day at an amusement park?
Keep your stash of questions near the dinner table or take it along with you on your next road trip. When the boredom complaints begin, pass the jar around and take turns asking each other questions.