It seems today we spend too much time in front of the t.v., on our phones or online. We are losing our connection with our families! The best time and place to reconnect is at the dinner table! But it can be a challenge to get everyone there at the same time to enjoy a family meal without all the distractions of our daily lives! Here are some ways to get your family back on track and in tune for family meal time!
1) Schedule dinner times several nights a week that are required family times. Figure out a schedule that works for all members and plan on these nights being nights where you all eat at home. (One of these days should be a weekend night) Plan what nights are the ones where no one is going to have activities and stick to the schedule. Make it a family rule that no one can make other plans these evenings during the dinner hour.
2) Require the electronics and t.v. to be OFF. It won't kill anyone to turn off the t.v. or to let the phone ring during a meal. No Facebook, no Twitter, no background noise. If you are checking your phone or watching a show you aren't connecting with your family. The best time to talk is when you have everyone together. Make sure you are following the rules too! Your kids follow your example. Of course, if you have a situation where you must have your phone or pager for emergency/work purposes that is the exception. If it is something or someone that can wait, then call back later.
3) Let everyone get a chance to talk. Go around the table and let everyone share highlights of the day. Take turns asking questions. This way you get to know more about each other, your daily lives and what is really going on. If you are open with your kids, they are more likely to reach out to you when they need advice, have a problem, or just want to talk. Create an environment of security and you will be glad you did later on!
4) Let your family help choose the meals. And have them help prepare them too! During dinner, choose what you want the next meal or the following week. When it's time to make dinner, give everyone a job. Little kids can set the table, older kids can make drinks or a salad. Everyone can have a job and they will feel more included if they are giving a special duty.
5) Always follow etiquette rules and set an example for your kids. Say please and thank you. Ask for dishes to be passed, and keep your elbows off the table. More and more we seem to be forgetting the proper way to eat. Take your time and enjoy the meal. This is a time to bond! No need to rush!!!
Follow these simple tips, and you and your family will become more connected and enjoy meal time!! Having a set meal routine will help your family communicate better and will keep you happy too!!
“I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Kraft Homestyle Macaroni and Cheese blogging program, for a gift card worth $50. For more information on how you can participate, click here.”