This post featuring my kid conversation starters printable was sponsored by Ling Ling and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.
As my kids get older and the moniker “wee ones” fits less and less, I realize how little time I have left with them. While it seems like they were born just yesterday, my son enters high school next year and my daughter the year after that. The years of having dinner together every night are already ending. They no longer want to spend every waking moment with me, and I don’t get the full lowdown on their day anymore.
Every time I read another statistic about the benefits of having dinner around the table as often as possible, that reinforces me desire to make sure we have time to eat together at least three times a week. My husband grew up in a family where people sat down, took food, and left the table when they finished. They didn’t have the connecting conversations I grew up with, and I don’t want my kids to grow up without that either.
While I love to cook, I don’t have the time every night to create a full meal from scratch. I’d rather spend the time playing a hand of cards with them or even just sitting down for a minute after a long day of working then playing chauffeur. Couple that with my kids’ insistence that they’re constantly starving and need to eat now, and I have a couple backup meals in my freezer at all times.
Begin with an Easy Dinner
My daughter has been a fan of Ling Ling potstickers for years. She’s even been known to make them for breakfast. When I saw the new Ling Ling Fried Rice line, I knew I had to add this to our arsenal. The fried rice comes in five unique flavors based on recipes inspired by Japanese, Chinese, Korean and Thai cuisine. I picked up the Yakitori Chicken and Thai-Style Chicken, but you know I can’t wait to try the Yakiniku Beef, Chinese-Style Vegetable, and Bibimbap Beef.
Each package contains two bags, so you can decide how much to make. The two bags together makes enough to feed my family when coupled with the Ling Ling potstickers. You can choose to microwave it or cook it on the stove. I prefer the skillet on the stovetop with the slightly crispier end product. It takes around 10 minutes start to finish, and even my famished kids can handle that. Simply heat the skillet on medium, add oil and the contents of the bag, and cover. Stir a couple times to ensure everything cooks evenly, and you’re set. It’s the easiest meal and tastes like a restaurant meal at home. This is way faster than takeout, too!
Ling Ling uses an infusion cooking method to create their fried rice dishes. Each grain of rice has the flavor of the signature sauce infused. They contain high quality ingredients with no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. Best of all, you can try out these fried rice meals and use this coupon offer for $2 off a box of Ling Ling Fried Rice. Find these tasty dishes at a retailer near you using the product locator.
Using Conversation Starters at Dinner
The second I start cooking a skillet of fried rice, my kids swarm. Get kids to sit down to dinner? Mission complete. Get them to talk? That’s the hard part. At times, it’s hard to convince them to chatter away like magpies the way they used to. I discovered that silly questions act as conversation starters, and the topics branch out quickly from there. Remember, these are conversation starters, so don’t ask one question and then stop. Keep the conversation flowing!
It’s simple to come up with a few questions, but I need help night after night. That’s when I decided to make my own conversation starters and turn them into a free printable. I created a total of 36 cards, and that’s plenty to enjoy each night at dinner. These conversation starters focus on tweens up, and they need this most.
Print the conversation starters and store them in a small container on the dinner table, so you remember to use them each night. Rotate who selects a card, and go around the table with each person having a chance to answer. Make sure to follow up the question to avoid one word answers. Ask why, and throw in a “what about” or “what if” after an initial answer. As a parent, you’re just as important to continuing the conversation as the kids, so make sure you answer, too.
I love that even when I think I know the answer, my kids throw me a curveball. Who knew that my son no longer wants a baby sister because he figures he’s too old to be a playmate and the idea of diapers grosses him out. That’s half the fun of these types of conversation starters. They start conversations, and you never know which way they’ll turn next.
Have you ever tried conversation starters with your kids? What’s your secret to staying connected?