Spicing up dinner time

Is your dinner table a little too quiet? Here are a few ideas to add some conversation and pizzazz to your next family dinner.

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  • Wearing suits and dresses and using sentences like "don't discuss...gruesome sights and sounds," this video might feel a bit outdated. Without a cell phone in sight and no teens posting the meal on Instagram. It might feel hard to relate to this 1950s video about family dinner etiquette, but many of the same ideas are still relevant today.

  • "Treat the members of your family with the same respect and cordiality you would show your most treasured friend outside of the family circle," the narrator in the video said. "Be sure [to be] your best self."

  • While your family might not have serious problems with manners or discussing "gruesome sights" at the table, there are other ways to improve your family meals.

  • For example, after spending an hour preparing a hearty meal, you might want to gather your family together for some quality bonding time around the dinner table — everyone is silent. In your head, you pictured laughter and fun conversation, but instead all you hear is the clanking of forks on plates.

  • Sometimes, after a long day at work and school, everyone can be pretty tired, or even a little grouchy. If you’re looking for new traditions to lighten up your family for some dinner table conversation, here are a few ideas.

  • High/Low

  • Every day is different, and talking about what happened that day can spark some great discussion. Instead of just asking “how was your day today?” some families take turns sharing the “high” and “low” moments from their day. The highs/lows are usually pretty simple: from getting a good grade on a test to wishing Christmas break would arrive sooner. Make sure you respond to each person individually and everyone gets a chance to share his or her best and worst moments.

  • Supper Jar

  • Good for all ages from rowdy kids on up to adults, the Supper Jar has pieces of paper with questions on them. Pass this around the dinner table and the discussion will come naturally. Questions can range from funny to serious, or even “would you rather” type questions. This game is great for laughing and getting to know each other better.

  • Start a story together

  • Have one person start a story, and then go around the table adding a line at a time. Before you know it, your family will be inventing characters and plotlines that you probably could never dream up on your own. After dinner, you could write down the story as a keepsake and have the kids draw it out, too.

  • According to a survey by Welch’s, of the families who eat together, 84 percent said it was their favorite part of their day. You set the tone of fun and relaxation with some of these ideas...and you can make plenty of memories along the way.

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  • "There is no family so busy that they can't come together in the evening for a meal, which will give the family members something to look back upon with happiness all their days," the narrator said.

  • Sixty years later, this sentiment holds even more truth today. Take the extra time and effort to serve up some laughs and love at the dinner table.

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Alysa Kleinman is a journalism student and an intern at Deseret Digital Media. 

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