Water spills, crumbs dropping all over, trying to talk over one another, whines of “I don’t like this dinner”, up and down and out of the chair a million times, crying, negotiating how many veggies to eat in order to get dessert, getting up to go to the bathroom, can I have seconds before you have even taken a bite, quick eating to be able to move onto homework and other activities, eating in shifts…is anyone else’s dinner table this way?
My hubby and I have spent many hours teaching our kids how to sit and enjoy the food and conversation at the dinner table. Things have gotten more enjoyable as they have gotten older but we sure are a work in progress!
*Everyone pitches in to set the table. Each person has a job to do before they sit down. We have found that this cuts down on the amount of impatient waiting for the food to arrive.
*We try and plan to eat together. Each day is different and jammed pack with activities. We look for the time that works best for all of us. There are always days when this is impossible! My hubby and I want our kids to know the importance of sharing a meal and conversation with one another because we know as they grow this time will become so valuable!
*Everyone’s plate is served at the same time. This has avoided the constant getting out of our seats to get food, or sitting down to a cold dinner.
*We pick a person to pray. It doesn’t always happen at the beginning of a meal,but we make it a point to stop and give thanks.
*We get the conversation going by asking everyone to share their favorite part of the day. When we share one thing it opens up the conversation for questions and more details about our day. It has taught our kids to be respectful by listening while others are talking and waiting your turn to share.
*If you eat dinner, you get dessert! Just a little incentive to stay in your seat and eat. We don’t do huge desserts..a couple of cookies or a scoop of ice cream. Just enough to satisfy the sweet tooth.
We were recently out to eat and someone came up to us and said to my hubby and I how impressed she was with how nice our kids were sitting and how respectful they were being. They really look like they are enjoying themselves! My hubby and I were smiling from ear to ear! We were having a proud parent moment! It felt really good that someone else took notice! Our hard work at home is paying off-score one for Mom & Dad 🙂