Meal time is a great time to focus on teaching family values and developing a sense of belonging. Growing up, my parents always made family dinner a priority. All seven of us would gather around the table for a meal.
Sometimes it was as basic as fish sticks, frozen veggies, and milk….at other times it was more elaborate. Fridays was always pizza night. Whether we purchased it or made our own, it was always to be looked forward to.
But truly, the best thing about our family dinner tradition, was the opportunity for togetherness. Sure there was plenty of spilled milk and crying throughout the years, but the sense of connection and community this tradition provided was long lasting. The knowledge that I am a valuable part of my family and that I am loved has helped me through many bumps in the road of life.
So it makes sense that family meals are definitely something that I am trying to prioritize in my family. I know it can be challenging with young children especially. (mine are 22 months and 4.5) But I want to provide my kids with the same sense of connection and support that I was given as a child.
Today I simply wanted to provide you with a few ideas to enliven your family meals… (whether that is breakfast, lunch or dinner). Here is my list, which is forever growing. Some ideas I have been using for a while and others I am looking forward to trying as my kids get older.
Family Meal Ideas
- Share stories from your childhood-The art of sharing stories from one generation to the next is something humans have been doing since the beginning of time. And you would be surprised how much your kids want to know about you.
- Create your own story-Our family has created our own character, Geoffry, who goes on very similar adventures as we go on each day.
- What would you do if? Engage your kids in conversations about social situations which they might encounter in the coming years.
- Read a story together. –A picture book or even an novel. You can find some great children’s books at the Empathy Library.
- Check in ideas-for example High –Low: What was the best part of your day and the most challenging part?
- Family Thankfulness Journal-It’s self explanatory, keep a family journal on your table and list the things you are grateful for, and then read it periodically.
I would also love to hear what you are doing to make family meal time meaningful. Feel free to share your ideas.