Sometimes dinners are a little late around our house, but that is okay; we don’t get to sit down together at the table together often enough. My fiance is a professor at a prestigious university over 700 miles away. He flies back and forth every week, while Gabe and I stay on the farm in Kentucky. When he returns late Thursday evening or Friday, I normally cook a big dinner and we sit down to eat together. We use this time to “catch up” for the week. Family dinners are an integral part of our family dynamic. It is important that we have that time together. It is important that every family has an allotted amount of time each week to spend talking and sharing stories. It is easy to get caught up in hectic schedules, and even easier to let the lines of communication disappear. The Family Dinner Project is a non-profit organization which works to promote the benefits of family dinners, and to educate parents about creating ongoing dialogues with their children.
Gabe loves to help me cook, and even though his assistance makes it take a little longer to prepare a meal, I enjoy (almost) every minute of it. It is an educational experience for him. We talk about kitchen safety, identifying food and objects, and counting ingredients. I teach him that there are steps that you must follow in recipes, and they have to be followed in order. The tasks might seem menial, but they foster vocabulary, help him learn to work with others, and teach basic life skills.
What do you talk about at dinner? Do you struggle trying to create meaningful conversation. The Family Dinner Project has some great ideas on their site.
Family dinners can also be used for reflection. Many families don’t get to share regular family dinners. Working parents often have unusual schedules that make it difficult to share a family meal, while other families face food insecurity. Some conversations can be difficult. Does your child know what food insecurity is? Do they have a friend or classmate they think is in need? You can use family dinner time to have conversations about important topics, and suggest ways they can help.
Starting on Giving Tuesday, December 2, the Family Dinner Project is holding a contest. Entry into the contest is simple, you just share a meaningful dinner photo on Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #FamilyDinnerForward. This contest is open to US residents only, but you can share as many photos as you want. Two lucky individuals selected at random from all the entrants will win four 4-piece place settings of Lenox Entertain 365 dinnerware, estimated value $344-$400.
A family dinner provides time to discuss the importance of charitable giving, and to make plans as a family for Giving Tuesday. Maybe together you could clean out your pantry and take extra items to a food bank? Have you considered volunteering at a soup kitchen or similar organization? Never underestimate the power of positive influence; charitable parents influence children to be charitable.
How often do you have family dinner? What types of conversations take place at your dinner table?
I hope you will join The Family Dinner Project, Giving Tuesday, and #familydinnerproject.
Disclaimer: This post is a sponsored editorial from The Family Dinner Project; however, all stories and opinions contained herein are entirely my own.