What does dinnertime look like in your home? In all the craziness today, it is hard to slow down and sit together as a family to share a meal. Sure we sit down around the table for holidays, special occasions and when company comes over…but what about ALL those everyday moments?
One of the best things we can do to strengthen our families is take time to have conversations and I believe the dinner table is a great place to start. One of my greatest joys is hearing about my husband’s and my kids’ day – what they are looking forward to, what might have been difficult, what is happening at school or work, etc.
With all that being said, dinner time at my house doesn’t happen without scheduling, planning and some work! I am a fulltime working mom, my husband works full time with unconventional hours, and we have two teenagers busy with youth group, sports and friends but, we try to be intentional about setting time aside to spend together.
Here are a few things I have found successful over the years that work in our home. None of these are original ideas; they are things I have learned from reading, from mentor moms, and from friends and family.
- Set A Goal – We strive for 3 to 4 nights a week to sit down together for a meal. Be realistic. Know your and your family’s schedule and limits.
- Be Flexible – With busy kids, dinnertime might happen as a picnic before a sporting event or at a restaurant after church - we’re still all together! It might also mean we eat at 5:00pm one night and 8:00pm another night – it’s about being together, not the perfect scenario.
- Plan Ahead – I plan my meals out for the week. I look over our calendar and know what nights are crockpot nights or what nights you might have to fend for yourself and what nights we are all together.
- Include Your Kids – My kids help plan and prepare meals. They are much more likely to enjoy this time and eat what has been prepared if they are active participants. This can start at very early ages.
- Turn Off The Electronics – We have a NO electronic rule at the table. No phones!! No texting!! No e-mail!! Unplug and ENJOY your family!
- Set-up & Clean-up Are Part Of Dinner Time – Include your family in getting ready for the meal and cleaning up after the meal! This adds conversation time as well as instills in your family that you all are active participants. There are NO assignments – it is not just mom’s job to cook & clean up!
If you don’t already have a dinner time routine – what’s your goal? Have an idea or suggestion? We’d love to hear your successes and even your struggles.
Dena Myers, Office Manager