I love the idea of family meal time and think its important to “break bread” together. But forcing children to stay at the table will not achieve that “happy family” time you aspire to create. Instead you’ll get whining moaning and other misbehaviors that sabotage your efforts. We don’t want to invite power struggles.
Instead of making attendance mandatory, I suggest you excuse anyone who wants down, and then work to create a fabulous family dinner atmosphere that attracts your children to come back or to stay. Stop harping on about what they are eating and the crap that happened at school. Instead “socialize”. Its a dinner party!
Can you stop “parenting” long enough to just enjoy the company of your children? That is what its about isn’t it?
Here are some ideas for questions that you can use to get the conversation rolling. I promise – you’ll draw a crowd with these:
- What is your all time favorite movie and why does it have special meaning for you?
- What is your favorite book? what in it has personal meaning for you?
- What is the funniest thing that ever happened to you?
- What is the silliest thing you have ever done?
- What is something you hate to do? What do you hate about it.
- If you could be a super hero or fictional hero / heroine, who would you be? why?
- Do you like your name? if not what would pick instead?
- How do you feel about nick names? Know any good ones? What would you pick for yourself? Why?
These are just a few ideas to replace the ole “do you have homework tonight?” or “when are you going to write that thank you card to grama for your birthday present?” Gee, I’d be running from you too!
If you have a good dinner table vibe going – share with others what makes it happen for you.