Families gathered around the table to have meals together is a thing of the distant past….
Unfortunately, what many parents ignore is how vital these family moments are to growing children. Of course, our modern culture also means that we’re busier than ever, and eating meals together as a family doesn’t seem viable.
One way you can keep traditional family values going is by opting to have family dinners together every night. Even if the food is takeout or frozen leftovers, getting together is what counts. Parents should especially implement this practice because it allows kids to share information about their day at school and to broach subjects they may otherwise keep hidden. Below, you will find four ways to start the planning process:
1. Create A Meal Plan
One of the reasons that family dinners tend to fail is because adults fail to make a plan for the meals. Sit down over the weekend and create a meal plan that all family members approve of. You don’t have to plan elaborate cuisines or even know how to cook. Frozen TV dinners, leftovers or takeout foods,dust off the outdoor furniture and fire up the barbecue so long as you are eating as a family that’s the important part.
2. Establish A Time
Once you have the meals planned out for the week ahead, set a time for your family to have dinners together at the dining table. It’s important to choose a time that works for everyone, so do get out those calendars! You may have to make concessions if all members of the family have a full schedule ahead.
3. Consider Conversation Starters
Create memories together as a family by considering interesting conversation topics you can all participate in. Instead of asking how everyone’s day went, play a game or talk about current topics of relevance. You want your family to anticipate these get-togethers and even look forward to them. Never ambush a family member or force a topic on them that they don’t feel comfortable sharing. The point is to get to know each other a bit better without feeling an obligation to share.
4. Involve Everyone In Cleaning Up
Never assign only one person to do all of the cooking and cleaning up after the family dinners. It’s important to involve all members and have them contribute something to the affair. If you only have a single person doing all of the heavy lifting, family dinners will become a dreaded occasion and not something anyone readily wants to participate in. In days past, women were generally responsible for kitchen duties, but this is no longer the norm. Everyone should get a job assigned regardless of their age or gender. This will allow further bonding time between members of the family and eliminate the potential for hostility.
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