Relationship Building: Dinnertime Ideas for the family
Spending time together at meals is a great way for families to share about their day and to learn about what is going on in each other's lives. Try to commit to eating together as a family as often as possible -- without the distractions of the television or phone. Make dinnertime fun for your family with these simple tips:
Choose a Dinner Helper
Each night, designate a different child to help with dinner preparation. Depending on their age, they can help chop vegetables or simply hold a measuring spoon for you. Helping with dinner will give them a sense of responsibility and will hopefully teach them a few useful skills in the kitchen. Plus it's a great way for each child to gain some one-on-one time with you. Or let them bring their homework to the kitchen table and help quiz them for an upcoming test.
Play a Dinner Game
Are you trying to teach your children manners? A fun game is Pass the Piggy. Cut out a picture of a pig (click here for a free printable pig), then pass the piggy to whoever who has displayed poor table manners (i.e. elbows on table or not saying "please"). Keep passing the piggy until the meal is completed. Whoever ends up with the piggy last has to wash the dishes (or other chore). For more details on this game, click here.
Share about Your Day
Take turns talking about how each person's day went. What was their favorite thing? What was the most interesting thing they learned? What was the funniest thing they saw or heard? What are they looking forward to tomorrow? Make sure everyone gets a chance to share. Or choose a topic for each meal, such as Favorite Book, Favorite Movie or Favorite Celebrity, and have them explain why they like that favorite thing. Click on the following links for more conversation starters: Kid Conversation Starters, Teen Conversation Starters, Marriage Conversation Starters.
Make Food Fun
Give your kids a chance to do something creative with their food, such as painting pictures with food coloring on their sandwich bread, or making fun shapes (like bugs or flowers) out of their fruits and vegetables.
However you spend your meals together, make sure you and your family are spending time sharing quality conversations.
This article is based on the book, 1001 More Things to Do with Your Kids, by Caryl Waller Krueger. Information was also gathered from Family Fun Magazine.
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