Three Things

When my kids started school, I started a game called “Three Things” at dinner every night. The object was for all of us to share about our day and to open up conversations. Because I’d found that when I asked the question, “So how was your day?” I was often met with the one word answer of “Fine” which didn’t exactly tell a lot.

Three Things – Tell three things about your day opened up tons of conversations and sometimes even little problems that the kids were having so we could help them. Initially I tried to steer it towards Three GOOD Things (which happened often), but as they got older, it was more helpful to not put the pressure on them to only talk about the good when they had other things going on.

Three Things also helped them practice good table manners and how to converse while eating a meal in front of people. For example, don’t eat with your mouth full etc. It allowed the conversations to freely flow more often than not and it brought us together as a family.

We didn’t have a TV in the kitchen because I didn’t want them to be zombies watching it. I wanted us to enjoy family time before they all went in different directions for the night.

Once they got older, I didn’t have to rely on Three Things to keep a conversation going because they were used to chatting during dinner. We’ve had many interesting conversations during dinner which as a child myself, we never had. In fact, when I was a kid, my Dad read the newspaper at dinner and watched the news on TV while we ate. Sure we talked for a few minutes – “How was your day?” “Fine.” But nothing more and I didn’t want that repeated in my own home

And that’s how Three Things came to be. What do you do at dinner?

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13 Responses to Three Things

  1. Ainsobriety says:

    We have never had dinner together.
    We had a nanny for 15 years. She fed the kids before we got home, even when they were older.
    I am celiac and was low carb for many years,so I would go to the gum after work and then cook for myself and Craig. Or Craig would eat what the nanny had cooked too. Many nights one or both kids, or Craig, then had a sport. We all ate whenever.

    We have 3 TVs in the room kitchen/living room. Sports are on all the time.

    Without Craig the kids and I ate together for a while, at my request. Then life took over and we again eat at different times. Cooper and I eat the same thing, but Cleo is very picky. She also sleeps half the day and is awake at night as she has a self directed school program.

    We are all together for a while most days, just chatting. I spend a lot of time helping Cleo with school, and we talk about everything. Cooper and I usually watch some sports together in the evening. I stay in the family room watching and am there for whenever they are interested.

    I had ideas of family dinners at one time. Our lives just never supported that. Plus, I have always bristled at traditionally female roles. I did not want to be expected to cook, serve and clean, like my mom did.

    Anne

    Liked by 1 person

    • janieleeds says:

      Anne, I didn’t want to have that traditional role either, but it didn’t work that way for me. We had a nanny too, but she left late afternoon so dinner was on me. The ex traveled often and we had sports too, so it didn’t always work out, but it often did.
      Now at this age, with everyone’s work schedule being different, we manage a few days a week to eat together, but it’s not as it was before.
      I do the same thing with staying in the family room to be available to the kids and there for them. I love that!
      Thanks for sharing!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ainsobriety says:

        Our nannies lived in. I live in a remote city and that is a fairly common child care solution.
        The first one stayed 4 years, and then her family immigrated from the Philippines to join her.
        The second stayed with us for 10 years. She had no family, and is now in her early 60s.
        She was a lovely lady. We really didn’t need a nanny the last few years she was here, but I didn’t want her to have to find another job.

        Like

      • janieleeds says:

        That’s awesome Anne! Ours was with us for approx. 7 years. She was already a grandma and didn’t live with us. But she had been a nanny for many years and I was completely comfortable with her which is the best part. I like that you had the option for that type of child care solution! I would have loved that too!

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  2. LA says:

    We played high/low…what was high point and what was low point. It totally encouraged conversation

    Liked by 1 person

  3. scr4pl80 says:

    I like the three things and wish I had thought of that when my kids were younger. We never ate dinner at the table together though since my husband always had stomach issues and sometimes worked different hours. I usually fed the kids and then ate later. Sometimes I wish I had tried harder to make dinners a routine.

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    • janieleeds says:

      Janet don’t worry about the past. Concentrate on now and build a family dinner when you can. We do what we can with the circumstances that we had at the time. My brother and his wife never eat with their kids as they prefer to eat later so their kids just hung out together. The most important part is communicating with the kids in whatever form it is. You’ve got that! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. bone&silver says:

    Similar: I used to ask my son ‘What was the best thing you learnt at school today? Or your fav moment? And the worst moment, plus how could you have changed it (if that was possible)?

    Sometimes he’d roll his eyes and say ‘The best thing about school today was when it finished’. And we’d laugh. But we’d still be engaging!

    Never had a TV, so glad I didn’t. Sometimes we played cards… a game for 8-12 yr olds… he still suggests we play it now occasionally (he’l be 21 in a month!) ❤

    Like

    • janieleeds says:

      G, thanks for sharing! I love that you made time for him and that he still wants to play cards with you. Mine do too! 🙂 I think it’s how we relate to them that makes the difference in a positive way. Knowing you, it’s most definitely POSITIVE! 🙂 And I love that you laughed together!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. With the babies, we all have an early dinner together, when I’m there I do all the cooking to give mom and dad a break. Lots of laughing, lots of talking. Sometimes I get FaceTimed during dinner so the little ones can still seem to have me there in some way.

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