I came across some great resolutions while scouring Twitter yesterday, but one of them really caught my eye: "Family mealtime."
Think long and hard about this one. When was the last time you and your family sat down at the dining room table and ate a meal together?
Somewhere along the way it seems that family meal time has been lost. I remember when I was little we always, always sat at the table and ate dinner together. None of us were allowed to leave the table until everyone was finished, and even then, we had to ask to be "excused."
Now, with the wide availability of convenience meals, there is no need to even sit down! How often have you found yourself grabbing an egg mcmuffin on the way to work, or popping in a Michaelina’s before heading off to soccer practice? This has become an everyday thing in today’s busy society.
So how do you take back dinner time with your family? After prying the cell phone from your teenage daughters’ hands, and convincing your young son to put the Nintendo DS on pause, you can begin.
Pick a Day
Start slow and work your way up, the last thing that you want to imply is that family dinner night will be every night without exceptions. Pick a day that works for everyone. Circle this day on the calendar or post in on the fridge; “Wednesday night is family dinner night!” If you start to notice that this one night a week is working for everyone, introduce the idea of two family dinners a week, if the reception is good, then go for it.
Get Everyone Involved
Once you pick a day of the week and the family has committed to it you need to get all the family members involved in the process of making dinner. It's not only the eating together that is a great social environment but the preparation of dinner as well. Get your daughter to cut up the vegetables, your son to set the table and your husband to grill up the meat. Create a feeling that everybody is important in the preparation, this makes it more satisfying when everyone sits down to eat, they all know that they have done their part.
Bring on the Excitement
Make your family dinner time fun and exciting; after all, you would like your family members to want to be there. Next family dinner make it a theme night. Try Mexican taco night. Have everyone dress up in bright colourful clothing, big hats, and talk with an accent. Drop by the dollar store and pick up $2 or $3 worth of inexpensive props to help create an authentic Mexican atmosphere. Guaranteed the kids will love playing dress up and making up their own tacos. How exciting!
Why? Because It's Good For You
Still not convinced that you can get your family back to the table? Here the top reasons why it is important:
Try these quick and easy recipes at your next family meal:
- You are being a positive role model by demonstrating healthy eating habits and rituals.
- Help to build vocabulary and conversational skills.
- Allows you to get to know each other better as a family, and enjoy each others company.
- Help your children feel more connected and open with the family.
- Teaches your children proper manners. Saying “please” and “thank you” around the table should be a must.
- Teaches friendly cooperation and responsibilities (for example setting the table or washing the dishes).