I love the idea of family mealtime and think it’s 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 to get down, and then work to create a fabulous family dinner atmosphere that attracts your children to come back or to stay. Shift the focus from what they are eating and what 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 it’s 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 superhero 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 nicknames? Know any good ones? What would you pick for yourself? Why?
These are just a few ideas to replace the tired old “do you have homework tonight?” or “when are you going to write that thank you card to grandma for your birthday present?” Gee, I’d be running from you too!
Do you already have a good family dinner table vibe? Share with others how you make it happen!