Did you grow up having family dinners? I did, and I hated them….until I loved them, because they always left me feeling safe, and happy, and loved. My mother has an amazing ability to gather people together. She makes them feel like they belong…like they are special.
Every afternoon we’d set the table for a 5 o’clock dinner when my dad came home. I even remember her making place mats from construction paper, with pictures she drew of the plate, fork, and knife, so we knew where to put everything.
Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t always perfect. Many times my sisters and I fought at dinner, got in trouble, made my dad mad, spilled our milk, but no matter what,and no matter what was going on we gathered together to share a meal together.
As we got older and had activities at night, it got harder to make the 5 o’clock dinner happen, but more times than not my mom made it happen. And of course as a teenager I thought family dinners were totally annoying and dumb, even though deep down they made me feel good about life.
So now here I am with my own little tribe, and I see the wisdom my parents had in the act of gathering the family together everyday for a meal.
THIS IS WHERE THE GOOD STUFF HAPPENS! Seriously people it is the truth! I laugh until I cry at the funny things we talk about together! And just like my family growing up, it’s not always pretty. There are meltdowns, kids who refused to eat, tweens with attitudes, and yet I still make it happen. I make their grumpy butts get to the table, and usually those grumpy butts work it out and leave dinner with a new lease on life 🙂
With all this being said I want to share a few tips to help you make family dinners a “thing” in your home too 🙂
- Look at your calendar and decide when your family dinners can happen each week. I realize with sports life gets crazy, but hey why not do an early dinner or a late dinner or a fun dessert all together once everyone is home. Shoot to have dinners together more nights than not in a week, and if that isn’t happening in your schedule, it’s time to change something! You have the power to cut out what’s really not important…so do it! Your family IS what’s important!
- Make it EASY! I gave up on fancy table settings on baby number 3. We use paper plates. YES PAPER PLATES! Every night! I use crock pot recipes like crazy! If you meal plan for the week and prep the day before or even prep every Sunday for the week, it will make everything run smoothly.
- SIT DOWN! As moms we stand at the counter and eat don’t we? I am soooo guilty of this, and I literally have to make myself sit down with my family. I try my best to clean as I cook so I can sit down and enjoy my family instead of thinking of the mess behind me.
- Get your kids involved. Have them set the table. Have older kids take turns cooking. Yes your 10 yr old can cook if you show them how!
- Make some memories and RELAX. Just let the conversation flow. We always start with “what was the best part of your day?” And now my 3 year old sits his little self down every night and says “my best part of the day was…”
Seriously friend, don’t over think it. Just get all those kiddos in their seats at the same time and eat some food together. Oh and of course NO ELECTRONICS at dinner! Everyone has to turn their ringer OFF! What’s funny is the whole thing probably lasts 15 minutes and I seriously feel like I have to move mountains all day to make it happen, but when it’s over and we all go our separate ways, I am a super happy mama, and I think my family is too.