Rules For Happy Family Dinners

 

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Family mealtime is so important. Even if it’s just once a week or even once a month. I can’t even begin to list all the reasons why. It helps families connect together, gives time to get to know one another a little better, and most of all, it allows for a good chat.

Our family eats dinner together nightly. Sometimes we can’t squeeze it in, but I’d say that we do it about 95% of the time. To us, it’s the one time we can all be together and socialize about anything. We ask each other how our days went and it’s a nice, calm time where nothing in the world matters but being together to eat good food.

We have such busy schedules that we just have to have this quality time together. It can be hard to get a good family dinner, or other meal for that matter, in so I decided to throw out some ground rules for our family and they’ve been working really well.

No Cellphones Or Other Electronics/Distractions

In this day and age, we revolve around cellphones and other electronics. We work on them, play on them, and learn on them, but because I want our family dinnertime to be spent together and not focused on a screen, we leave all of our cellphones in another room so we aren’t distracted by them. We also make sure the television is turned off. The sole purpose is to talk to one another and there doesn’t need to be any electronics for that.

Keep Negativity to a Minimum

When talking about our days, we try to keep talking negatively to a minimum. Of course, we want it to be an open setting but we try to keep everything fairly positive so it isn’t a time for trouble or other forms of downers, but instead a happy place where we can feel good about ourselves and our family.

Include Everyone in the Conversation

We have an almost two-year-old at our dinner table and sometimes it’s easy for us to forget she’s there and has something to say. While she doesn’t quite understand everything, we try to ask her questions about her day and what she did so that she feels important too and isn’t left bored. We’ve noticed she makes less of a mess when she’s involved in conversations, which is awesome.

Everyone Stays Seated Until Dinner is Over

This is a tough one. Our toddler often finishes eating before us and usually wants to get up right away. We always let her know she needs to stay seated until we’re finished, but we forget the rule needs to apply to us as well. We don’t need to pop up to check our e-mail or start dishes until our toddler is done if she ends up taking a little longer than us. It’s important that all set rules apply even to the parents. Your toddler is no less than you and this time is important for everyone. If your toddler is taking a super long time eating, try a timer and let them know they have however many minutes to eat before some sort of punishment is issued. Be fair with the time.

What rules does your family have at dinnertime?

 

 

4 thoughts on “Rules For Happy Family Dinners

  1. We definitely had sit-down, everyone involved dinners when mine were younger. Now that we are entering the teen years, sports and other things sometimes waylay the plans. We try to pick at least one night when they are all home at the same time and talk about their day over dinner. We usually get in more than one day, depending on the time of year. At times, we’ve implemented the “tell me the high point of your day” “and the low point”. That opens up dialogue, which isn’t always easy during the fluctuations of teen hormones. We don’t have electronics and we tend to fade away from the table around the same time.

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    1. That’s great to hear! My daughter is far, far from the teen years but I have a feeling that time will come faster than I think. It will be interesting to see how we handle it as a family when that time comes. I think it’s awesome that though your schedules are different, you still try to make it happen at least once a week!

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  2. We use to be on almost this exact same routine/set of rules. My husband gets home after the kids and I eat dinner these days. My new goal is try and get the kids and I in the dinning room, staying in the practice of good dinner, sit in my chair until everyone is done, etiquette. Even when Dada is home there’s another problem that has arisen thwarting us from the perfect dinner experience. Dada is on the keto diet, mostly meat, Mama (me) is a vegetarian…..making two dinners is the bane of my existence. The kids fall in the middle with balanced meals including meat. . . . maybe our new goal is at-least one family meal a weekend all together, all rules in place.

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    1. One meal a weekend is certainly better than none! It can be really difficult with busy schedules/different eating patterns. I’m not sure how old your kiddos are, but if they’re old enough it might be a fun task for you to all make dinner together on the weekend so that it isn’t so stressful making two meals. That would be fun!

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