Adapted from an article by Tamsin Kelly
Community and connecting are frequently talking and learning points for us in school. This week’s feature article is from Mr David Slade, our Vice Principal for Achievement and Progression, and looks at different ways to connect with our children at home in their teenage (and other!) years.
Teenagers are more likely to get five good GCSEs when they share family meals with their parents and siblings
"Sitting down together as a family provides a regular opportunity to bond together, to share anecdotes from your day, laugh and joke but also keep abreast of serious issues and make plans together. It’s prime time to spot any concerns or issues with your child.," says Tamsin.
You’ll even reap good grade rewards for your kids by having regular family meals. A government report tracking 19,000 school children provided compelling evidence for just how important family mealtimes are: teenagers are more likely to get five good GCSEs when they share family meals with their parents and siblings (Joseph Rowntree Foundation).
But we’re SOOO busy!
Maybe as a family you can manage only one night a week, it still makes a difference. But now that you are all there, how do you break the teenage wall of silence? Have you tried any of these?
If you can bear it and manage the potential mess, try a card game, maybe Uno, Top Trumps, or one of our home favourites, Five Crowns. I don’t recommend Snap, rapid action and shouting can cause all sorts to fly…
Choosing interesting topics of conversation can spark involvement. My kids love hearing about their family members, cousins, aunts and uncles, even yourself. They can’t believe that you had a life before they were born. It might even be time to get out the old family pictures, ‘What, that’s you with hair Dad?’
If you are struggling, a quick Google search will bring up many sites with interesting conversation topics. Print them out, chop them up and have a conversation starter jar, where each person randomly selects a question and off you go and see what happens. As cheesy as it sounds, it’s the random happenings that kids remember, maybe not there and then, but later.
Another favourite with young children is ‘would you rather...?’ and then explaining your choice, like “Would you rather live at the bottom of the sea or have a biscuit shop?” The options are sometimes surreal, quite often descend into potty humour but are always entertaining.
Our dinner table conversations aren’t all serene and loving, they are often far from those Walton moments. But sometimes, every now and then, you all just connect.
David Slade, Vice Principal (Achievement and Progression)