Our lives are hectic – with ball games, dance practice and homework to do before bedtime. So many families typically grab a bite to eat in between, but how much are we missing by not enjoying family dinners? Clean off the table, because with these tips, for a brief moment of time, your family will be gathered around enjoying each other’s company!
Set a recurring time/day. Pick a day and time when everyone is free and set it in stone. Let it be known that no activities, visits or plans will be made during that time frame! It will be hard not to fill that free time up, but in a few weeks it be be the new normal!
Plan menus. Let the kids help plan menus that are appealing to them. Pick themes and base the meal around the theme (ex. Italian night, scary foods, everything green, etc). Another great idea is to feature one family member each night and have their favorite dishes!
Cook together. Let the kids (and spouse!) come into the kitchen and help prepare the meal. Children can do anything from getting the pots and pans out to cutting veggies. Let them help as much as you feel comfortable with. They will feel so proud when you sit down to enjoy something they helped cook!
Decorate. You do not have to bring out the fancy linens, but some themed table decorations would be fun! It can be as simple as school supplies for back-to-school week or some ornaments for Christmas. Let the younger children (and older, if they want!) make the table decorations!
Engage. It may feel a little odd to sit around a table and eat without the hustle and bustle of everyday life in the way. Engage with your children: Ask about their day, talk about their thoughts on current events, etc. You can even go around the table and let each person talk about something (anything) they want!
Clean it up. Long gone are the days of Mom cleaning up the mess! Work together as a team to clear the table, load the dishwasher and take out the trash. Not only does this ease the amount of work you have to do, but it also teaches responsibility!