How are you doing with family time at dinner time?
We’ve been working on it after I sent a message to PreschoolMama. Her suggestions we regularly do. Dinnertime is the first time we get together as a whole family so we all have something to say. Now our littlest guy has joined us. It can easily get disjointed with one of us constantly getting up and doing things for one of the children.
I eat with the kids no matter what as it gives us a time I wouldn’t miss in the world to talk and share. Lately work has squeezed my husbands time with us so either dinner is late and we’re altogether or if the kids are hungry we dine without him.
We’ve never been an eat in silence family- one boy always thinks it’s appropriate to sing…..we have no idea why. Another always assumes the role of butting in or knocker over of something. Ripe opportunity to teach manners. We’re going for the touch the arm if you want to interject or say something. Respecting others stories- ok some stories aren’t funny or interesting but we can still say something nice and not go ” yeah- I knew that” or immediately discount his story by launching into your own story. How to use a knife and fork ( We’re English. It’s what we do).
Whilst good ideas like teachable moments come up and the TV is off- meal times still seem a little chaotic. Whoever set the table forgot a glass or someone’s cutlery, where’s the booster seat,the serving spoon is missing (feared slipped inside the food because someone chose the wrong sized spoon) baby waited too long and now needs milk, we didn’t want this plate but this other one etc I could go on. But this is my problem.
The dining experience is a lot of fun really once we get going. Some things we’re trying
- I’m trying not to serve everyone but let them serve themselves.
- We sit in new seats everyday chosen by whoever puts out the mats.
- Whoever is loudest wins! trying to change this and ask the middle one ( isn’t it always the middle one) questions
- We play Dinner Games
We really like this game 51 dinner games to play while you eat. Guess what’s in the oven mit that gets passed around is a good one. As is what animal would you be if… questions. It’s really interesting what comes out of their mouths…….
Why talk about dinner play activities?
Talking at dinner time is so very important. I read kayleym blog She wrote about William Doherty’s lecture on “Parenting Wisely in a Too-Much-of-Everything World”. The lecture sounded like a good one.
one-half of American families have the TV on during dinnertime, and that children in families that eat meals together three times a week or less are two-and-a-half times more likely to be over-weight or obese in childhood. Another fact I found interesting was that family mealtime influences academic achievement more than school, studying, sports, church, or art activities
More information about dinner time/family time and making it more effective.
The importance of mealtimes by Dr C Carter of Half full kids
Watch this video
Looking for resources…..
Kid friendly conversational starters Kid Talk: Conversation Cards (Tabletalk Conversation Cards)
Try these family questions Table Topics Conversation Cards – Family Edition
Going out for dinner- take these in the car Conversations to Go – Original
What do you do?