It's the holiday season and it's all about family, but our busy schedules, last minute Christmas shopping (wrapping and decorating) can make it difficult to get everyone around the table at dinner time. The rush of the season can leave you feeling, left out if skip the dinner table. Here are a few ways to make sure you're all breaking bread together at least a few nights a week.
1. Menu planning. Take turns letting members of the family decide what each meal will be. This will give them a sense of responsibility and encourage them to make the effort to be home for dinner with the rest of the family.
2. Give it a theme. Taco Tuesday is a popular one. Providing the consistency will also help generate loyalty when it comes to partaking in the meal. Don't overdo themes as it can lead to predictability and boredom.
3. Create jobs. Everyone should have some kind of task. Someone needs to set the table. The dishwasher will need to be loaded. The table wiped down. These responsibilities will create a better appreciation of what it takes to make sure food is on the table every day.
4. Plan ahead. On more chaotic nights make sure dinner is prep time is stress free. Check the calendar a day or two in advance and plan accordingly. Slow cookers can be lifesavers in these situations.
5. Have fun. Play music during dinner. Encourage fun conversations. Every night during the course of the meal we play Roses and Thorns. Everyone has to say one good thing (rose) and one bad thing (thorn) about their day. It sparks conversations, congratulations and problem solving.
These meal time gatherings are important for a number of reasons. Studies show kids who have dinner at home with their family do better in school and make better choices when it comes to peer pressure situations. There is also a magic in sitting around the table, together as a family, that provides a sense of security. love and tradition.