Below: This is a youtube video promoting a book on the topic. The family table is a God ordained place of fellowship and connections.
Set the Mood
Family dinners are as much about what we do as what we don’t do. To get the most benefit from your family meal times, take a moment to set the mood.
Start with a technology free time. No TV or cell phones, ipods, video games, etc. These technologies tend to limit relational interaction.
Next take some time to make dinners special and fancy. Lower the lights and use candles. The lower light leads to more intimate conversation. Bring out the fancy dishes. Rather than waiting for a visit from the queen, bust out the fine china for your family dinners. Using the special dishes tells the family that the meal is special, and that they are important.
Take turns offering the prayer for the meal, thanking God for the blessings of the food, for those who prepared it, and for the family time while eating it.
Include the kids in meal prep, meal set-up, and certainly meal clean-up. Family dinners can actually be more than just the eating. Make sure to include the kids, not leave them to it. In other words, do the dishes together…don’t leave the kitchen a mess and tell the kids to clean up.
Finally be intentional about what you eat. Cook meals that you remember from your childhood and tell your kids about your memories. Plan healthy meals that include fruits and vegetables. Plan a dessert, or an appetizer. Both lengthen the time it takes for the meal, which increases the time the family is together.
Ideas to Try
- Eat outside
- Move the meal around the house to make it memorable
- Cook breakfast for dinner
- Take turns planning the menu
- (Exception to no technology rule) Get ready for bed, in your PJs and watch a family movie together while eating dinner.
- At Christmas time eat near the Christmas tree – use the time to talk about the gift of Jesus and His birth
- Try themed nights – Mexican food match the decor with chili pepper lights, and colorful napkins – Italian food, create an Italian restaurant feel, Finger food night, etc.
- Use mood lighting, and mood music
- Make special occasion meals, like Birthdays and Baptism Birthdays
- Seasonal Meals – Fall is here, use pumpkins, squash, apples etc.
- Start and Finish your meals with a prayer
- Dinner time is a great time for family devotions – take turns reading from a devotional book.
Quick LinksTime Magazine article
Interesting Statistics on Family Dinner
Web MD article on importance of family dinners