Wednesday, March 7, 2012

New Years Resolution Check-Up: Dinner as a Family

My New Year's Resolution was to eat dinner together around the dining room table.  

I cook dinner most nights of the week and we do eat together as a family every night.  However, most of the time it's in the living room, off the tray table, in front of the TV.  But, the important part is that we are still eating together.

Why I want to do it:
Statistics show that eating as a family lowers all kinds of risk factors in kids:  risk of being overweight, risk of eating disorders, risk of drug and alcohol abuse... the list goes on and on.  My primary reason for choosing this resolution is more selfish:  I have my great-grandmother's antique dining room table and six antique chairs purchased from our church... and I LOVE antiques.  I'd love to put them to use!!!  I also have great memories from growing up and eating at the table every night.  Dinner was served at 5:00 pm.  We always had a meat, potato, and vegetable.  We always sat in the same chairs.  We all helped clear the table.  Mom cooked.  Dad washed the dishes.  One of the kids set the table while the other one got everyone drinks.  The event was filled with tradition for us.  And, I would like for my children to experience something similar.

Eating at the table forces us into a routine:  setting the table, eating, clearing the table.  Without a routine, the work doesn't get done.  The kitchen sink is full of dirty dishes and the table is cluttered.  

Eating at the table (and preparing to eat at the table) promotes teamwork and responsibility.  You can't really teach a child to "set the table" when dinner is served buffet-style and eaten from a seat on the couch.  

Eating at the table encourages communication between family members.  It's far too easy to sit in silence in front of the tv-- but our dinner table is always filled with heated discussions.

Spark the conversation:One thing we started doing as part of this resolution is to use the "question jar" idea.  You fill a jar with conversation starting questions and each night you pick one out.  I recently attended the Real World Parents Seminar where I learned about a twist on this idea.  Mark Matlock has categorized 55 of the Proverbs into different themes and has created a card for each Proverb in the Wisdom Deck.  As a family, you can discuss which theme you think the Proverb belongs in and why, if it belongs in more than one, if you agree with what the card says, etc.  So, not only are you sparking conversation at the dinner table, but you're also exploring scripture!!

Do you do devotions as a family?  When do you do it?  Do you use a devotions book?

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  1. We love to eat together as a family. My oldest son is learning to do the dishes after supper while my husband bathes and plays with the younger. We do family devotions at breakfast time. I take care of 2 other boys before they go off to school and they often share in our family devotions. We are a homeschooling family so reading, talking, and working together are high priorities for us. Another thing we do sometimes when we are in a position to stay up a little later is I will read classic books to everyone while we linger after dinner. We also like to play board games after dinner as well. I think one of the most important things we can do as parents to pass down our values and history is to do things that promote relationship building and build a great family life.

  2. We love board games and often play them after dinner! My 7-year-old has taken to playing "Risk", which I am still learning. Sometimes I leave my husband and son to play a game while I do the clean-up. It gives them some bonding time before it's time for the kiddo to go to bed.