Now that the holidays are upon us, images of food and eating it in large groups as family and friends are commonplace. Everywhere you can think of actually, from the sides of city buses to the glaring repetitive commercials airing during all your favorite television programming. ‘Tis the season to be jolly! as the saying goes. But what about those other days? The ones that aren’t Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter.
Even if you only have little ones at the moment, introducing them to a daily and if possible, weekly, regimen of family mealtimes as a family will lay the foundation for the facilitation of easier communication between you and your children as they age. Believe it or not, as much as your kids might complain about having to eat at the table, those who aren’t able to do wish that they could. Check out these stats to learn more. It will also be the source of many fond and not-so fond, but necessary memories of dealing with you, Mom and Dad. They will likely continue the traditions you establish into adulthood and pass it on to the families they build, and so on and so on.
That is if you are willing to make the time. Being able is something different. It isn’t always easy with today’s shifting schedules. The fear of unemployment and being impoverished has many of us working multiple jobs and shifts. In some instances there are those of us who don’t cook. The reasons can endless but the fact remains that you and your children aren’t eating together. As a Family Day – A Day To Eat Dinner With Your Childrenâ„¢ Ambassador I’d like to challenge you right here and now to take the time to have dinner as a family at least once a week.
Here are some tips and ideas on how have an effective dinner at your home with your family.
- At a loss for something interesting and unique to make? Check out these free downloadable recipes.
- Line up your conversation starters: This is especially for those of you with teenagers. As tempting as it may be don’t jump right in preaching morals and ethics. Consider talking about upcoming movies or revisit past ones seen by you and your kids. Use these as vehicles to discuss your subjects of interest: drug use, bullying, friendships, responsibility, education, etc. Music is a great subject. Listen to what your kids are listening to and bring it up at the table to get their perspective. Let them talk first. And do your best to resist the urge to pass judgment or reminisce about the old days that were so much better than now. No one wants to hear that. Did you when you were a kid?
- Other subjects are sports, the new fall television lineup and the latest in kids fiction. Talking to your kids about their friends might also be a good place to start.
- Mom and Dad take turns: There’s no denying that kids respond differently to each from one hour to the next. Monday might not be your day, Dad. If this is the case don’t force it or take it personally. Just pass the baton to Mom. Mom, don’t react to Dad if he is initially frustrated, call him away from the table briefly assure him that things are okay and proceed with dinner. And vice versa.
- If this is your first time (in a long time) sitting down as a family during the week or at home, make the Family Day Pledge and please make it a priority to do it again soon and regularly.
- If none of the above points apply to you or if all of them do, make especially sure to have fun at dinner!
BMWK family, do you eat dinner as a family and why? Please share any memorable experiences or advice for other readers in the comments below.
*Family Day began as a grassroots initiative and has grown to become a nationwide celebration. In fact, in 2010 President Obama, all the Governors and more than 1,000 Mayors and County Executives proclaimed and supported Family Day.