Sticky Notes - Table Talk: Conversation Starters to Develop Mindfulness
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Table Talk: Conversation Starters to Develop Mindfulness

August 24, 2022 by Emily Moore

Take as MUSHROOM as your family needs; FUNGI's love to connect: Dinnertime Conversation Starters to Develop Mindfulness 

Mindfulness — focusing with intent on the present moment in an open-minded way — has become a popular practice for minimizing anxiety and increasing happiness. When we nurture mindfulness in kids, it not only helps them cope with current hardships, it also helps them develop a habit of navigating the inevitable stresses of life. There are lots of ways to develop mindfulness, and it’s not all yoga! Below are three simple mealtime activities that help train your mindfulness muscles. (Visit Mindful Communications for loads more ideas on nurturing mindfulness in kids and adults, too!)

Rose, Thorn, Unicorn Game

Here’s a simple framework to help kids reflect on and share the events of the day – successes, challenges, and surprises. The main purpose of this simple exercise is to help kids develop mindfulness and gratitude.

Bonus: it gives you valuable insight into what’s going on in your kids’ world so you can celebrate and support them.

How to play – Go around the table and take turns sharing a rose (great part of their day), a thorn (difficult part of their day), and a unicorn (surprising part of their day). To elicit the best responses, I found it helpful to define the terms with more specificity. For example:

  • The Rose could be something you’re proud of or something that made you laugh.
  • The Thorn could be something that made you sad or frustrated.
  • The Unicorn could be a new fact you learned or a person that you met, and liked.
Would You Rather Game

Do you know this game? Get ready for lively conversation and plenty of laughter!  Your kids get practice recognizing and articulating their preferences, and meanwhile, you’ll learn things about them you never even knew!

How to play – Go around the table and take turns asking, “Would you rather….?” questions. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • …be too cold or too hot?
  • …eat a banana that’s underripe or overripe?
  • …be able to fly or be invisible?
  • …be an elephant or a mouse?
  • …have to eat a bowl of live ants or a bowl of live worms?
  • …live on the moon or underwater?
Now, That’s a Good Question… Conversation Starter

You don’t have to play a game to have a great conversation. Sometimes it’s just about the questions you ask:

  • If you won $10, what would you do with it?
  • What makes a good friend?
  • What’s your favorite holiday? Why?
  • What’s something that’s really confusing?
  • What’s the best dream you’ve ever had?
  • When you’re sad, what makes you feel better?
  • If you could invite anyone over to dinner, who would you choose? Why?

For more ideas on engaging table conversation, visit the family dinner project. For hands-on, open-mouthed, fun-filled cooking for kids, visit Sticky Fingers Cooking’s upcoming ONLINE class schedule!

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