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Reboot Family Dinnertime with These 4 Tips

From chauffeuring children to after-school activities to tackling all the never-ending responsibilities at work, there’s barely any time for the entire family to sit down and enjoy a meal. In many cases, it’s simply easier to just eat on the go. And while that may be more convenient to your family’s busy lifestyle, it may not be beneficial to family togetherness.  

Our team at Merry Maids® wants to help nurture your family unit with four tips to rejuvenate family dinnertime and make it one of the best parts of the day.  

The Benefits of Family Dinnertime 

Often, dinnertime is the only moment everyone is in one central location without the distractions of smart devices. Hey, we get it. Family dinners can feel like a bother after a tiring day full of work and school when all you really want to do is veg out on the couch. However, more families are starting to realize sharing time at the dinner table offers benefits beyond mom’s famous lasagna or dad’s mouth-watering gumbo. 

A 2011 study published by Cornell University reported that children who regularly eat meals with the entire family are: 

  • 35% less likely to have eating disorders 

  • 24% more likely to eat healthier foods 

  • 12% less likely to be overweight.  

The study also found a 20% reduction in children eating unhealthy foods. Additionally, a report published in the Journal of Adolescent Health Eating’s April issue found that eating together can contribute to greater mental well-being and fewer emotional and behavioral issues. To that end, more parents are starting to understand the importance of eating together and enjoying each other’s company. 

Other benefits of family dinnertime include: 

  • Teaching responsibility and leading by example 

  • Creating opportunities for the entire family to work together 

  • Sharing daily experiences and catching up 

4 Ways to Reboot Family Dinnertime 

Spending time with family should always be something you look forward to. If it starts to feel like a chore, it’ll be that much harder to make it a normal part of the day. Dinnertime, especially, is the perfect time to talk about the day you’ve had, how it made you feel, get positive affirmations from your loved ones, and simply unwind. Here are four things you can do to revive family dinnertime. 

1. Set Expectations 

If this is the first time in a long time you’ve had everyone around the table, don’t expect it to become a habit immediately. It’s vital for you set the example and expectations for the entire family so there’s no confusion as to where everyone needs to be when it’s time to eat. Start the day by reminding everyone that you’ll see them at the dinner table this evening and do another reminder right before. These reminders will let everyone know what you expect from them and get them excited about family time.  

2. Communicate and Listen 

The point of family dinnertime is to spend quality time with your loved ones and talk. Silence during dinner is okay, but it’s important to talk and listen. One person shouldn’t be dominating the entire conversation. Everyone around the table should have an opportunity to talk about their day and have others engage by asking follow-up questions to dive a little deeper. This will keep the conversation going and make sure everyone feels heard.  

3. Play Family Dinner Games 

When you finally have everyone gathered around the dinner table, discussing the day’s events isn’t the only thing you can do. Playing family dinner games is a great way to get in some quality time, share a meal, and do something enjoyable. This is one tip that will surely keep family dinnertime from becoming burdensome or boring! 

Some fun family dinner conversation game ideas can include: 

  • 20 Questions – Compile a list of 20 questions to ask each family member. These questions can range from what they did today to what country they’d like to visit in the future. 

  • Story Starter – Have someone start a story with a few lines, such as, “Once upon a time,” and let the person to your right continue with their own sentence. 

  • Alphabet Game – With this family dinner game, you’ll want to work your way through the alphabet with each person saying a word that starts with a letter. Make sure to go in order. 

  • Memory Game – Choose a category like “fruit,” go around the table and have each person list a fruit. The catch is the next person will repeat the first person’s fruit and then say one of their own. Every person will have to repeat all the previous items until someone inevitably forgets an item in the list.  

4. Give Yourself Grace 

Having the time to spend with your entire family around the dinner table can be a beautiful thing. But, sometimes, evening activities or late work hours can get in the way. In cases where a quick meal is more conducive to your family’s individual schedules, give yourself some grace. It doesn’t serve anyone positively to get upset about not being able to sit at the table together. When you can’t designate dinnertime, gather the family together for a few minutes and talk about everyone’s day. The true reward is just getting to spend time with one another.  

Developing a dinnertime routine is crucial to a happy and healthy family unit. Merry Maids® loves helping you find more time in your day to spend with loved ones by taking all the cleaning and organizing off your hands.  

Let us help by requesting a free cleaning estimate today.