In these times of stress we do not realize the importance of having lunch or dinner together as a family. We lack time for everyone and as soon as the children are a little older, we allow them to have dinner alone at home while parents take advantage of that time to do other things or wait for them to go to bed for dinner in peace.
Actually, this is not a good idea because dinners can be a magical time to connect as a family. Family dinners are the ideal place for family connection, you have to do your part to make it the most special moment of the day!
Getting together for dinner
There are very few families who worry about having dinner all together creating a moment of harmony, don’t think you don’t have time! Children don’t know how important they are due to their inexperience in life, but you do. In the long run, those dinners will have shaped them into the people they will become when they grow up.
The traditional, leisurely family dinner of generations past now seems more like a sprint to finish fast and that everyone eats dinner when they can and that they can resume their tasks before going to sleep. This is quite a sad situation… It is necessary to remember that sitting at the table together is one of the best ways for families to grow together and stay well connected.
The Family dinners should be a priority even if it does not seem like an easy task. In the long run they are worth the effort. Family dinners are a wonderful place that encourages togetherness. You can give family members the opportunity to share their daily experiences and receive support from other members. Daily family meals provide children with a safe haven and physical and emotional stability that is very important for them, necessary in a world that is often confusing and frightening.
Tips to make the most of family dinners
Yes you want your family dinners to become a special moment for everyone, then don’t miss these tips to make the most of this time while you are all together around the table.
- Don’t feel guilty. Do not feel bad if dinners are not every day, but try to prioritize them above all things. Start with what is possible right now and transition naturally so that you can at least have lunch or dinner together several times a week, making it a tradition for everyone in the family.
- Better without discussions. Family discussions should not occur while you are eating or dining around the table. It is better to encourage positive communication, even in young children. In addition, the time of preparing food, setting and clearing the table should also be an opportunity for family unity where everyone participates.
- Create a moment of relaxation. The family dinner should be a moment of relaxation and pleasure for all. Try to make them pleasant topics that you talk about and any unpleasant topics, criticism, judgments or inappropriate behavior should be left out of that moment.
- Involve your children. It is important that your children feel part of everything. Their participation will make them learn more values and you will also be teaching them to talk and enjoy special family time. The art of conversation and learning to take turns talking is a very important social skill for everyday life.
- Use specific questions. When you want to encourage conversation with your children, use questions specific (for example: what kind of questions did they give you in the language test?) or questions with short answers (for example: how was today?). In this way, there will be more chances of having a good conversation with each other. Remember that laughter is the best music for dinner!
Turn off the TV or radio, change the place for dinner (how about a picnic in the garden?), leave the phones in airplane mode, take advantage not only of dinners but also meals, snacks… Remember that it is important to prioritize these moments… Although sometimes they may resist, later on, over time, everyone will love being together in the table.