It’s really easy for meal time conversations to get stalled. We ask the same questions, “How was school?” and get the same one word answer. Now we’re kind of stuck. I’ve written before about Creating a Family Meal Ritual and how during meal time it’s a great way to have chance to have good conversations with different aged children and adults with differing points of view. But if you don’t have good resources on hand ( I wrote a post about some here) then meal times can just become really stressful or at the other end, just blah- take it or leave it.
As my children got older we wanted some space for some deeper conversations without the children witholding! You know the time when they know the answer but don’t want to say.
Children are onto us.
They also are beginning to develop fierce loyalties and want more
some privacy. Seeing they need a transitional time and so do we still as parents, we also want a way to start conversations that is still deep, personal and lead to discussions that automatically touches on our values without it looking like a trick. ( We want light conversations too!)
The family should still be a place for us to develop ideas without fear of being attacked. We should still show love and respect when one of us has gotten the wrong idea. It’s where we listen and learn to raise our argument and not our voice.
One thing about families
When stuff happens to someone else it seems much easier to talk about.
The same is true for our children. We don’t always know the ins and outs of what’s going on in their schools and peer groups, although we might have a good idea. We do speak to friends and see in the media children and situations that are just terrible. Instead of wanting to wrap our children in cotton wool as their only defense we should be finding ways to talk about situations we see and what we would do if were us.
We loved to have meal conversations from books from Sandra Mcleod Humphrey although these would run to a few pages to read as a story situation so we didn’t want to use these every meal time.
What families need
- We needed something that we could springboard to deeper conversations without our children thinking we are secretly saying it is them.
- We needed something open ended enough to give discussion but not too long with too many things to remember.
- We wanted to talk about character and values as they trickle into our life without fear of getting the stock answers.
- We also needed these conversations to be based on real events.
…….. Introducing Character Conversation Cards
25 task cards like the one below. Each with a short (ish) situation and open ended questions that usually end in a variation of what would you do? Some of the cards like the example have variations of the same situation but adapted for age/stage.
The more of these Character Conversation Cards you do the easier it is to adapt the situation yourself. Since we all have very different children I would encourage you to adapt names, and situations to be more relevant to your situation. In the example below the child bring a sticker book. That’s something that might now happen that way in your family. You’d likely read that and immediately think of a better alternative for your family.
There are 10 cards on one theme.
Each bundle will have two themes and a half a theme.
How to use Character Conversation Cards
Download to your phone and these cards are at your fingertips at meal times or when you’re waiting at a restaurant or another child’s activity to finish.
We’ve used them at the meal table in our cycle of conversation activities.
All cards are easily adapted for grade levels and gender. I’ve used these with my elementary and middle school children.
No time to read and download
Character Conversation Cards have an audio version that you can listen to while you are on the move. Go to settings on your phone and find and voice control. You’ll be able to play and pause with your voice and being safely handsfree! There are good pauses to allow for this in the audio version.
Grab your set
Head over to here to see all the different Character Conversation Cards.