Family dinners… Ahhh, the good ‘ol American past time. You know, the ‘Leave it to Beaver’ kind of FAMily dinners where everyone rushed to the table and viola! A piping hot dinner is served around conversation and laughter. Yep, that is what comes to mind when we reminisce about the good ‘ol days of FAMily supper time.
Does anyone still has them???
It can be so easy to just push through the day, grab food out of the fridge or pantry in passing for entire day and never end up sitting down together. Gathering together at the dinner table can feel like something that only happens over the holidays or even seem somewhat of a thing of the past – you know… just something people did in the “good ‘ol days”. These days for many FAMilies, the idea of gathering together for mealtime has been lost in the over-scheduled lives that we tend to live.
Let’s take a minute to turn back the clock to November 2019. The holidays were approaching, Christmas shopping was beginning, kids were cramming in projects to wrap up the 1st semester of school, busy work days, endless errands to run… and probably going days or even weeks without finding time to sit down and share a meal together. Sound familiar? This was the life that many of us lived pre-covid19. Just letting life fly by us as we desperately try to keep up with everything that we are juggling.
Ok, now let’s jump over to April 2020. Stay at home orders in place, the majority of parents are working from home to some degree or another, school is cancelled so kids are running around aimlessly, cell phone usage is soaring, and you’ve binge watched everything there is to see on Netflix. If you did actually sit down to eat together it was sort of an awkward thing… with corona, no school, everyone trying to deal with things on different levels. No one really knew what in the world to talk about. Or maybe you didn’t really even talk at the table because the TV was on, or faces are likely stuck in front of cell phones, and if they’re not… it was prooooobably because an ARM TWISTING had to happen just to get anyone to set their phone aside for this brief moment in time. PHEW! Then, add in everything taking place in our world combined with the many different emotions swirling through the house and you are in for a heck of a treat! So, not only are we unfamiliar with sitting down and talking around a meal on a normal basis, but now we are dealing with some who are anxious about all of the stuff going on. Those that are worried about what might happen to their family without the security of jobs, frustration from not getting to go out of the house, sadness because people are getting lonely, and all kinds of different perspectives, feelings and emotions coming up and out of the people in your home.
Which brings us to the right now… Life is… well, sort of… interesting right now shall we say! It has certainly thrown us all for a loop. HOWEVER, the silver lining is that it has also kind of handed all of us a big ‘ol RESET BUTTON. Right now is the PERFECT time to consider how to connect with your kids or your spouse, or even re-connecting with your FAMily in a whole new way. CHANGE can bring about all kinds of things, right! So why not take advantage of the circumstances to strengthen FAMily ties, build better relationships and create a sense of belonging for your FAMily. We want to encourage you to no longer agonize over the things you can’t control right now but rather view this as a tremendous opportunity for a NEW beginning that you can begin to have with your loved ones!!😃
Ronald Reagan sums this all up best, by stating this, “All great CHANGE in America begins at the dinner table.”
Alright, here is the VALUE and some research behind what we are saying…
Did you know that research shows kids who eat FAMily meals together have a lower chance of engaging in high risk behaviors such as substance abuse and violence, and fewer psychological problems?? One study found that children who have FAMily meals on a regular basis are less likely to experience symptoms of depression. The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University did a series of studies on the importance of FAMily meals. One of their studies showed that kids who sit down to eat with FAMily less than 3 times per week were twice as likely to receive C’s or worse in school. While also showing that kids who ate together as a FAMily 5 to 7 times per week did so much better, reporting mostly A’s and B’s! Not to mention that Stanford University reported that kiddos who have FAMily dinner times are less likely to grub out on a bunch of junk food!
So, not only are you creating an opportunity for your FAMily to bond better and providing a safe space for everyone to talk about all of life’s ups and downs, but you are also giving them a much better chance at living a healthier life, both psychologically and physically. This seems like a WIN WIN all the way around.
You CAN do this! Let’s bring on a positive change in our homes today and make it a habit to gather around with your peeps, enjoy some good food and make some great memories. If you have not done this regularly in the past, then just start small, don’t stress out if everyone doesn’t jump on board right away. It may take some time to start a new habit. If you used to have dinners together as a FAMily and that has just gotten away from you for whatever reason or circumstance, make it a priority again.
Remember to HAVE FUN and make it your own thing… maybe even mix it up! Have dinner on some blankets and pillows in the living room. Have breakfast in bed for dinner, or maybe even a reverse dinner and make some pancakes with chocolate chips in them!! Just in case you didn’t know STRESSED SPELLS BACKWARDS SPELLS DESSERTS 😉 Maybe you could even take the FAM out for a picnic dinner. Or, bust out that camping table and grub down on some BBQ in your own back yard. JUST DO something and have fun with it!
If you happen to need a little help on how to get some conversations started, there are some great resources out there! Google “50 Family Dinner Conversation Starters” and go from there.
You got this…we got this. Is it Dinner Time yet???