When I was a young girl, before the death of my father, every meal was eaten at the kitchen table, as a family. After his passing, we moved a lot, and we didn't have a lot, so dinners, if there were any, consisted of balancing our plates on our knees, sitting on the sofa in front of the TV.Even then, I knew that I wanted things to be different, when I had children and a family of my own.
The most important thing to remember is that, even the ones that gripe and complain, really love having to sit down to a family dinner each night. The routine makes them feel secure. Although there are times that it doesn't work out, due to after school events and the like, I strive to have us together at the table for our evening meal. This is how I pull it off...
1) Dinner needs to be around the same time each night. It is much easier for everyone to show up, if they have a set time. This prevents their getting involved in other projects, close to dinnertime. Thus avoiding the dreaded, "I'm busy!".
2) Turn off the phone. I actually have a code I can punch in that informs would be dinner interrupters that we do not wish to be disturbed. Immediate family has a code to punch in, should there be an emergency, that allows them to override the block. Fair warning though, some people, for whatever reason,. become offended at this. I am not sure why setting aside a few minutes of the day for spending time with family should offend anyone.
3. No electronics at the table. There will be complaints, but this time should be spent sharing and listening to those in our company, distractions make this impossible.
4. Have the children join in the preparing the table. Even the smallest child can place napkins and silverware on the table. The older ones can set out the plates and pour drinks. By delegating tasks, the table is ready in a flash.
5. Talk. Talk. Talk. You may have to initiate the conversation for the first few dinners, but you'll see how quickly everyone falls in and wants to share in the talk. This is the best time to hear about everyone's day, discuss upcoming vacation plans, etc... Draw the line at arguing. Just don't allow it.
6. Everyone helps clean up. When dinner is over, each person can rinse their own plate and silverware, placing it in the dishwasher. This makes cleanup a breeze.
Basically, the easier it is to have family dinner, the more often it is likely to take place. By following a few easy guidelines, you can make this happen.
“I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Kraft Homestyle Macaroni and Cheese blogging program, for a gift card worth $50. For more information on how you can participate, click here.”