Robin Fox, an anthropologist who teaches at Rutgers University in New Jersey, says:
“If it were just about food, we would squirt it into their mouths with a tube, A meal is about civilizing children. It’s about teaching them to be a member of their culture.”
Do not make it too difficult, just aim for maybe 2 or 3 meals together. Even if you don’t have time for dinner, try to have a fun breakfast! Or get something healthy but ready from your favourite grocery store or deli and deck the table. It’s not as much about what’s on the table as about what’s happening around the table.
Making dinner can be as much as an effort as you like it to be. Stores often offer great and healthy meal options that are ready to go. Or make a very simple pasta meal or a pizza party where the kids make their own pizza, you can use pita bread or naan as basis, it’s as simple as you like things to be.
They love to be involved and when they’re making some of the decisions, well informed of course by you, they will be more happy to eat what they choose themselves. Look at the My Plate lists to help children to make healthy choices.
So many of us see grocery shopping as something we need to do. By finding new stores you can make grocery shopping more about exploring. For example, we take our kids to the Chinese grocery store or any other ethnic store, you can find a lot of fun new places to do your shopping. It’s again all about making the necessary things of life more fun!
Some parents find it difficult to get their kids to talk. It’s something we have never experienced as our kids where little chatterboxes, in our family it was more about learning to listen. But in case your kids need some encouragement or just if you like to have something different to talk about, check out our conversation section. There are many fun activities that you can do around the dining table!
Then last but not least: Put all cell phones on a pile in a bowl, the television off, if possible put the land line phone on silence. Make it about the family, about what’s happening in the lifes of your children and you. This is a great time to teach children to listen when some one is talking and to talk when it’s “appropriate”.