1001 Tips for Military Families – Tip #434

Meaningful Conversation – Tip #434

Family members can be chatty but not always about things that are important to them.  When you ask about their day you will often get a one word answer that really doesn’t begin to describe the reality of their day.  Happy families tend to get past the chit chat and regularly talk about what is bothering them, important, stressful, etc.  This is easier said than done and particularly when you are in a military family and much of their military lives often needs to be secretive – for your safety, theirs and their colleagues.  Playing “Did You Know” during dinner,  using conversation cards or challenge cards is a great way to learn more about each other and talk about things that go beyond the weather, how work was and the odd grunt. 

Suggestions for Getting the Conversations Started:

Did you know – Each person has to go around the table and tell something to everyone that they didn’t know.  It can be something that happened in their day, an accomplishment, a fear, a like or dislike.  If anyone around the table already knew they have to try again until it is something that no one else knew.  Everyone has to take a turn before they can get up from the table.

* Conversation Cards – They are cards intended to start conversations with your family and ask questions in a random way with some element of chance so no one feels unfairly targeted.  They ask everything from “What was the thing you missed the most?” to “What is something you want to accomplish in the next month?”.

Click on the link for sample cards:

Conversation Cards

Challenge Cards – In the kitchen (in a bowl) put a bunch of cards with different challenges on it.  Each day everyone in the family pulls a card.  You can also pull one for the absent family member and send them an email with their daily challenge.  The challenges can be anything from tell a family member you love them to spend the entire day saying only positive things or ask someone for help.  If they completed the challenge there could be some sort of reward.  One family tried this and put a $1 in a jar every time a challenge was completed and then used the money when their family member got back to go and and do something challenging together (they bungee jumped!!!).

For more information about our tips, books and suggestions go to: www.whileyouwereaway.org

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