Dinner Time is the Best Time

Eating together is the most overlooked way of spending quality family time together.

Isn’t it fun having dinner with your friends? What about co-workers… whom you actually like?

What makes it so fun and why is it that you generally bond with your friends or colleagues over meals?

Laughter, great starters, stories, catching up, dinner, and more all contribute to making the environment “fun” which usually translates into quality time. And if it’s not a proper meal then it could be chai, coffee, or other drinks.

I bet you know where I’m going with this.

They seem pretty happy. What do you think?

They seem pretty happy. What do you think?

So what about your family? Grab dinner with them at home or at a restaurant, but spend at least a few meals exclusively with those whom you love. If you’re not already doing it then you are truly MISSING OUT.

I don’t know what it is about food, but it always garners the best discussions and the most entertaining ones at that. If the food is bad, you can talk about that and if the food is good you can talk about that as well. There is ALWAYS something to discuss.

Talking = One form of communication = Bonding.

Designate a certain time every evening throughout the week, or pick 3 or 4 consecutive days as family dinner time, and during this time everyone is to drop whatever they are doing and join the table.

All too often, it’s very easy to become engrossed in your daily routine whether it be with work brought home, improvements done to the house, spending time with your neighbors, etc. It’s even easier for your children to get caught up and want to eat dinner by themselves or at their medium of choice; computer or TV.

When it’s dinner time, it doesn’t matter if they are doing homework, studying for their exam, or watching a season finale. This small block of time must be reserved for family.

When you’re finally able to get everyone together encourage some discussion. What’s worse than several people sitting together and doing nothing except eating?

Awkward. Weird. Uncomfortable. For all parties.

Its not enough just to everyone together, but you have to remember the primary objective: getting closer to your children.

Start with yourself and mention a few interesting things, which happened during the day and give someone else a chance to talk. A promotion, something silly at work, something you saw are always good mentions, and then go around the table and have someone else mention something from their day or even something that is on their mind.

TIp: Try to stay away from bringing negativity to the table even if it’s pertinent. Keep the atmosphere as casual and light as possible. Speaking about bad grades, dirty rooms, and scientific analyses of deep space are the anti-thesis of what you’re trying to accomplish.

When they do mention their ‘one thing’, make sure you show plenty of interest even if it’s not interesting. Your children will always remember and I’m sure you remember a time in your life when your parents took an interest in the most uninteresting aspect of your life. Attention when it isn’t needed or required is the best, because it’s the most sincere.

If you haven’t already started on dinner time, it’ll take a while. Eventually everyone will grow closer and keep sharing, but DO NOT expect anything to happen over night.

Love isn’t a feeling which happens instantaneously, but it’s like a flower which grows and grows and grows. If you want your children to bloom, you must treat them like gentle flowers and understand that the process is delicate, long, and requires a lot of attention.

Turn off your TV. Power down the computers. It’s dinner time!

Action Items:

1.    Designate specified days throughout the week and VERBALLY communicate those days to the rest of your family. If your family is tech savvy, send them an e-mail as a supplement, but never choose e-mail as the primary option.
2.    Pick a story ahead of time, which you plan on sharing.
3.    Remember your intentions and remember to stay patient.
4.    Smile and enjoy!

Researchers found essentially that family dinner gets better with practice; the less often a family eats together, the worse the experience is likely to be, the less healthy the food and the more meager the talk. Among those who eat together three or fewer times a week, 45% say the TV is on during meals (as opposed to 37% of all households), and nearly one-third say there isn’t much conversation. Such kids are also more than twice as likely as those who have frequent family meals to say there is a great deal of tension among family members, and they are much less likely to think their parents are proud of them. (Source: TIME Magazine)

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