There was a time in life when experiences around the dinner table involved minimal risk of catastrophic spills, a wholesale absence of whining and thoughtful conversations. I’ll go out on a limb to say that you might recall those days fondly while shaking your head about not fully appreciating what was happening then. When children are added to the dinner table, the environment changes dramatically.
Sometimes I’m left feeling like a successful time at the dinner table was either one in which dinner was consumed quickly (without complaint) or one where my fatherly will triumphed over baseless revulsion of food stuffs (lots of complaint). And sometimes these two scenarios are indeed what time around the table entails. But I’ve learned that if the definition of mealtime success stops there, well … I’m missing out on opportunities to enjoy my kids.
Having experienced far too many meals with a flexing of the fatherly will (often resulting in apologies to my crew for lost patience), I started to realize the best dinner table is one that’s fun, engaging, interactive and meaningful. All things that (as in any realm of life) don’t just happen spontaneously like I might hope. And maybe the key to keeping kids at the table happily munching away and growing in relationship as a family is to intentionally make the table the best, most engaging part of the house to be at during meal times. It’s easier than you think and this series of posts will give you ideas on how to do so.
Looking for an initial idea to make your dinner table a fun place? How about a burp lunch? And fun at the dinner table doesn’t always have to include dinner – consider rolling some dice or pigs. Or have the kids leave the table in order to identify that dessert that wraps up the meal: scavenge a little (more) fun.