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?