This fall is a major period of readjustment for most families. While kids are starting back at school, there are various concerns about safety, mental health and of course, getting back to learning. Some parents and educators are worrying that kids may have experienced “learning loss” over the past year and a half, and they’ll need to “catch up” this year. Others are less worried about “lost” learning, but face challenges in helping kids get back into the routines and habits that support a successful school year.
Above all, we all want our kids to be happy and healthy, and to enjoy learning. Recapturing a positive attitude about school is a good way to support kids as they transition this fall. While it may be tempting to ask lots of tactical questions this year — “How did that test go?” “Did you finish your homework?” “Did you turn in that English paper?” — those are exactly the kinds of questions that are likely to turn kids off from both school, and from talking to you! Instead, you can try using your time at the dinner table together to create a fun, inquisitive, and positive atmosphere that reignites kids’ curiosity and love of learning.
Check out these ideas for kids of all ages:
Preschool and Kindergarten
A weekly pizza night can be a great way to get kids excited about family dinner, and can provide a routine time to check in and chat. Try this homemade version from our friends at the Home Baking Association!
Building strong literacy skills and a love of reading is important for development at any age. Check out the ideas for literacy-themed games and activities in this article about literacy at family dinner!
These conversation starters from our friend Chris Woods at the Daily STEM are a fun way to bring science and technology to family dinner! (Plus there are printables, too, so you can easily make a STEM conversation jar to keep on the table.)