Does your family treat dinnertime as just another task on an ever-growing to-do list? For many families across the country, dinner has become just that – a task, a chore, even a bore. Luckily, there are ways to change things up and turn the doldrums of dinner from routine to a celebrated part of each day!
Chat it up! – In a world of iPhones and laptops, the art of conversation seems to be slowly disappearing. Use dinnertime as an opportunity to reconnect with each other, learn about each other’s day, and explore what is new and exciting. If it is a struggle to find an opening topic, look to websites like Playworks.org and have a conversation starter list ready to go.
Turn on the Tunes – Listening to music has many known benefits. It elevates mood, reduces stress, and can stimulate memories. Rotate who chooses the music for dinnertime. And don’t just let it play in the background. Instead, make music a part of your conversation by discussing why a certain artist was chosen, how the music makes everyone feel, or decipher the lyrics together.
Get Everyone Involved – There is no reason one person should prepare dinner for the entire family. Have everyone chip in and participate in the process. Designate who will set the table, prepare the ingredients, and plate the food. Working as a team will bring the family together while having fun at the same time.
Try New Food Each Night – There are many ways to introduce new food and flavors to your family. Create recipes from different parts of the world, purchase a new ingredient from the store to cook with, or gain inspiration from your favorite book or movie. To take it to the next level, keep a family food journal to rate each dish and document everyone’s likes and dislikes to use in future dishes.
Be Present – Our days are filled with busy activities that move us from one task to the next. Dinnertime is an opportunity to make time slow down, for just a moment. During this time, focus as much on your family as you do the food you are preparing. Some of your fondest memories will be born from breaking bread together – make each moment count!