High, Low, Happy dinner game with kids

Would you like to find out what happened at school and work without asking What did you do today?

The High-Low-Happy game helps us talk about the good, bad and interesting bits of our days – and get comfort or reassurance without needing to ask for it.

Everyone shares their High-Low-Happy by listing three things about their day. It’s a natural conversation starter and you’ll find the questions and answers flow pretty easily between each person’s turn:

  • My high was… something that made you feel great, or that was especially exciting. For example, My high was that I got to deliver the class lunch orders, or My high was that I didn’t get any red lights driving to work this morning.
  • My low was… something that was disappointing or made you feel sad. For example, My low was my friends didn’t play with me, or My low was that petrol is up 10 cents just when I needed to fill the car. Some days you might not have a real low – but that’s worth talking about too.
  • My happy was… something that made you laugh or smile or feel happy inside.

For example, My happy was that dad bought us ice creams when he picked us up today, or My happy was that everybody got ready on time this morning.

Light and bright

Like all our dinner games, as an adult you can keep the tone light and avoid getting too judgmental or feeling you must ‘solve’ every Low that comes up. High-Low-Happy creates a safe space for everyone to talk about emotions without it being a big deal and you’re going to learn a lot about your family by playing it.

If your son says his Happy is that his teacher was sick today, for instance, ask why that made them happy rather than assume you’re raising a rotten little ghoul who enjoys other people’s misery.  Given the chance to explain, he might tell you it’s because the substitute teacher made them laugh all day.

Note: we all have days when we just don’t feel like talking.  Don’t force it.  Switch to a different game or topic, or just let the reluctant child (or adult!) skip their turn that night and use your intuition to decide if you follow up with them later.

Variation: sometimes it’s hard to distinguish between a high and a happy. You can substitute Interesting for High to make it clearer.