Meal times—ugh! Sometimes that word conjures up “complaining, noise, eating-vegetable-fights”, etc. I remember one mealtime when I was a kid and all six of my siblings were being noisy. My parents were trying to get us quiet so we could say a blessing on the food, and my father loudly said, “silence is golden,” to which my younger brother asked, “is that why we’re so poor?” I remember the whole family started laughing hysterically at that remark and it took another 5 minutes for us to quiet down so we could bless the food.
How can we make mealtimes not quite so hectic and more of a pleasant, memorable tradition (which, if you talk to the food nanny, you’ll see that it is a dying tradition)?
My son and daughter-in-law play 20 questions at dinnertime at their house. When I visited them for a few days, I was quite amazed at how this game brought the noise level down and focused the grandkids on eating and thinking instead of complaining and fighting.
And think of all the good side benefits for your children like: 1) involving the whole family (their 4 year old LOVES to think of the object but usually switches it 2 or 3 times during the game :)
2) analyzing/categorizing objects into groups of animal, vegetable or mineral 3) using deductive reasoning 4) using creativity 5) learning how to phrase a question….the list goes on and on.
Time magazine says that "kids who dine with the folks are healthier, happier and better students, which is why a dying tradition is coming back."
Meal times are a perfect time to let family members share their day. School age children can tell one thing they learned that day. Everyone can tell a funny thing that happened, or a service they did for someone or they can say something they are grateful for. You can even listen to music or in my case, where it's just my mother in law and me--yes we have uncomfortable silences--I put on an uplifting talk to listen to.
But whatever you and your family do at mealtimes, make sure its FUN!