A Simple Way to Bring Peace to the Dinner Table

By December 12, 2012General, Get Inspired

This post was written by contributor Lara Williams.

Our dinner table has felt circus-like lately. Our kids have been talking over one another, flipping around in their seats, and karate-chopping apples (that only happened once). The slow progression to slight madness finally pushed us to our limits.

“Dinnertime is changing, people.”


Bring peace to the dinner table


It finally dawned on us that our kids didn’t know how to have a dinner conversation. And we needed to teach them. *duh*

So youngest to oldest, they take turns asking someone a question. It may be a question about the other person’s day or about their likes. Then once the person answers the question, we encourage them to ask a “deeper,” follow-up question, i.e. how did/does that make you feel?

And it’s actually working!

We want our kids to learn to esteem others higher than themselves. That means we listen more than we speak. We think about the perspective and challenges of others. And we get to know the heart behind our brother’s words.


Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Philippians 2:3-4


The dinner table is just one more place to teach them true things. (And maybe at this rate, we’ll dodge the clown suit.)

How do you encourage a peaceful meal time? Click here to join the conversation.

About Lara
Speaker and writer, Lara Williams lives in central North Carolina with her husband and three young children. Click here to check out her blog.

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  • […] It’s apparently a week of guest posts. I’m hanging out over at Inspired to Action today talking about what we’ve been doing in our home to bring more peace to the dinner table. Because circus-like behavior had to go. Click here to read more. […]

    • Avatar Tammy says:

      We like to ask highs/lows of our day, ask for prayer requests, practice Scripture memorizing together, go around the table saying the books of the Bible in order or we say characteristics of God using every letter in the alphabet around the table. Now that its Christmas time we have a jar at the table wrapped as Jesus’ present with strips of paper and pens next to it. We talk about what Jesus would like for His birthday and what we could do all year to give to Jesus. Everyone writes down what they want to do and puts it in the jar. We read them Christmas morning and they go in an ornament the following year. Love hearing everyone’s ideas. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Avatar vicky says:

    My kids love to play 2 true and 1 false at the dinner table. They think of 2 things they did in their day and one thing they didn’t do and everyone tries to guess which is which. It’s a fun way to share the day. It doesn’t go very deep to the feeling level but it does encourage talking over playing with food:)

  • Avatar Ruthan says:

    I had to be “seen and not heard” at the dinner table. Dinner time was not particularly fun. Then when I had my own family I wanted things to be different. I wanted it to be a fun time. Free expression. Our time with our kids is limited. I enjoy and savor each family dinner with them.

    • I’m sure that “seen but not heard” was so difficult, Ruthan. Our kids definitely need to know that they have a God-given voice and important things to say. I pray that I teach them that, even in teaching them how to have a conversation. Many blessings, Ruthan. (And I must admit that I haven’t enjoyed *every* family dinner. God’s working on me.)

  • Avatar Becky says:

    Lets see….peaceful dinner…..what is that? In other words this post was timely. Thank you! I have twin 5 1/2 yr old boys and a 2 1/2 yr old girl and dinner times gotten a bit wild lately!

  • […] No! A blog that has anything at all to do with my opening story??? Nope!!! I found a blog post at Inspired to Action about CALMING THE DINNER TABLE. *deep, satisfying sigh* What a find! What a treasure! It seems that […]

  • Avatar Chaya says:

    Thanks for the good ideas! We need to try this at our house!

  • Avatar Brianne says:

    Peace was lacking at dinner for us with a 4 and 2 year old not because of conversation, but because they weren’t eating/ taking a millennia to eat anything. this little trick is finally making dinner a happy time for everyone! We simply set a timer. we decide each night how much time we have to spare and set a timer for half that time. (that way they can have a grasp on the half way point). If they finish their small portion of dinner before the timer goes off twice, they get time to play with daddy before we leave/ before bed! Just a reality they couldn’t grasp without the timer. They can choose to have more of course. This eliminates the begging to eat and frees us all up to talk about other things. The kids love when they “beat the timer!” We make it a happy game, and so far its really working!

  • Avatar Joyce says:

    We talked quite a bit this morning and I was surprised by how breakfast seemed to go more smoothly when we kept the conversation going instead of me telling the girls to just finish their food. I need to bring out our Table Talkers again. I had won it awhile ago and we hadn’t done it after we had a schedule change. I’m sure there are similar free things online too. http://inbetweenlaundry.blogspot.com/p/table-talkers-e-book.html