Sharing Laughter while Sharing Meals

9 Ways to Invite the Light-hearted In

Recently, my husband and I went to lunch and we got the giggles about something that was funnier to us than probably anyone nearby. The freer we were to say what we really thought, the more silly we became. We all have memories like this and then we say, “You just had to be there!”

I have to admit it; we are grown-up kids. When we say something slightly inappropriate or tell an awkward story on ourselves, it becomes funny. There are as many different styles of humor as there are people; some are witty, clever, good at telling jokes or funny without even realizing it.  What would you say is the tenor of your home?  Is humor okay at the dinner table?  Sometimes we get in the ‘good manners’ mode bringing correction and training to our kids while missing the humor.

You don’t have to be a jokester to have fun as a family.  Even the calm and quiet person enjoys a good laugh and can help contribute to the warmth of your dinnertime conversation.

Try these 9 ways of inviting the light-hearted in:

  • Tell on Yourself.  Share something from your day that was awkward, embarrassing, or a slip-of-the tongue.
  • Share a Funny Memory. Recall how your daughter always used to ask for ‘me-balls & basketti,’ the time she spilled her soup and it landed on the dog’s head, and when Grandpa gave the wedding toast and his pants fell down.
  • Ask about your families’ ‘best,’ ‘worst,’ and ‘craziest’ stories. What was your worst date?  What was your best prank?  What was your craziest risk-taking adventure?
  • Recall the ‘Good ol’ Days.’ What did you get punished for in school?  Who was your first crush?  What entertained you as a kid (that you wouldn’t be caught doing today)?!
  • Toss off your ‘Parent-Cop’ Hat for a bit while Staying Positive. Listen for pleasure instead of correction.  Avoid put downs, shaming and sarcasm in your humor.
  • Stir Memories by Bringing out some of your Kids’ Childhood Keepsakes. Use their baby book, soccer photo, or Tae Kwon Do belt to help you remember a funny story to share.
  • Take Advantage of On-line Resources and the Library. Print some jokes to retell, share comics, or quote a funny news story. Our kids really enjoyed the joke book we kept on our family table.
  • Share Quips. Remember one-liners from movies, TV, and funny little things kids say.  From the time our children could talk we had them learning jokes including this one, “Why did the cookie go to the Doctor? Because he was feeling crumby!”
  • Have fun with Music. Make your own play-list of silly songs or up-beat tunes to keep your atmosphere joyful.

Is there room to cheer up your family environment during dinner? Go for it; be intentional and have some fun! A little belly laughter doesn’t hurt anyone’s digestion.

Building Memories, One Meal at a Time, Stephanie


The Hour That Matters MostDiscover more great ideas for enjoying laughter at the table in our New York Times Bestseller, The Hour that Matters Most.



olivia and stephanieStephanie Allen is Co-founder and President of Dream Dinners and a New York Times best-selling co-author of The Hour that Matters Most. Naturally a visionary and optimist, Stephanie hopes to inspire America through her nurturing voice of encouragement, assuring families…    

“You’re doing a great job!”