When was the last time you and your family sat around the table together? And no, holidays and restaurant dining don’t count! Whether it was last night, or it’s been a while, it’s time to take back dinner and making memories at every meal.
Let’s face it, family meals are more than just food. It’s a time to connect with each other and share your lives. Conversation (and laughter!) around the table build relationships and family unity—plus, when we eat together, we tend to make healthier choices than when we just garb and go!
Check out our four tips to transform mealtimes into family moments.
Plan Ahead. Get everyone excited by involving them in the dinner planning process. Decide together what you want to make—maybe you have a family recipe you all love or maybe you saw a cooking show that served up something that you really want to try. Whatever recipe you choose, shop for ingredients and invite everyone into the kitchen to get creative. Kids will enjoy learning to cook alongside you, plus picky eaters are inclined to try new dishes if they had a hand in making them!
Set the Table. Even the littlest kitchen helpers can set a great table for dinner. Once you show them how to do it, they can do it independently. This will make them feel like they are contributing to the meal and lay the foundation for chores in the future. And if you’re looking for some fun, new ways to create a table you’ll all love, check out these ideas to set the scene for a yummy meal together.
Ditch the Devices. Promote meaningful moments and conversations by turning off the television, cell phones, cell phones, computers, and iPads. When you reduce the outside noise and competition from these devices, you can listen to one another—and maybe even laugh more. Simply by stashing away electronics, you can show your whole family how valuable they are to you.
Play Rose & Thorn. After everyone settles in, why not go around and share a little about your day. A great way to do this is to play Rose & Thorn. Each person tells the table about something great that happened (the rose) and something not-so-great that happened (the thorn). Celebrating the rose is a wonderful way to begin a gratitude practice while the thorn helps children develop empathy and understanding and use critical thinking, as they help each other discover solutions to the day’s problems.