Eat Together Every Day – Tip #43
This is a tip that was easy for our family to follow consistently. Our dinner table has always been a place where we talk about things that are bugging us, discuss hopes and dreams, ask questions and where I find out the most about everyone’s day – sometimes because of the things that they don’t say too. This routine is just as important to my kids as it is to me – they count on it and so do I. About a year ago I started taking the mystery and stress out of what we were having during our busy weeks by planning the week of meals on Sunday night. I also ensured that at least one meal a week is loved by each family member – this reduced complaints! We always eat around the same time so the kids know to be home at that time or to not plan things between 5:00 – 6:00pm. There are no electronics at the table, we don’t answer the phone and the TV is always off – no one would say a word if we had devices at the table, I would be lucky to get a nod or grunt.
The Smileys have taken dinner together a step further! Recently I started reading a book called “Dinner with the Smiley’s”. I loved the idea of it from the moment I saw the cover. It is about a military family that invites a different person for dinner each week. Immediately I thought of my own dinners and thought to myself that it would send me over the edge trying to think of wonderful dishes to make our weekly guest and how to cover up the dryness, burnt bits or soggy things that weren’t supposed to be soggy. I couldn’t stop reading though as it turns out Sarah Smiley had the same fears but did it anyway! I fell in love with the idea of committing to such a thing. The lessons she and her family learned from this experience will last a life time for her and her family. It has taught them the value of spending face time with others, taking chances, opening themselves up, how taking risks can be so rewarding and so much more. More than loving that they ate meals together I loved that they didn’t sit around for an entire deployment complaining and feeling sorry for themselves (which is so tempting to do), they looked at it as a learning opportunity for everyone. I highly recommend this book in the hopes that it will inspire you all to shake up your family dinners a little or do something that gets you and your family to step out of their comfort zone and spend time together in a meaningful way.
If dinners won’t work, find a meal that does and do it consistently. You cannot begin to imagine the benefits it will have for not only your kids but for you too.
For more information about our tips, books and resources go to: www.whileyouwereaway.org
Filed under: Living My Own Advice, Military Family Support - Tips from the 101 Tips books, Tips for Educators and Deployment Support Workers | Tagged: Dinner, dinner time, Dinner with the Smileys, family, family life, military, military families, routine |