In the first part of this series of articles I offered a suggestion that everyone should enjoy meals together around a table. And this may take some practice from everyone. It is a nice thing to make the meal time where everyone sits down, removes distractions, and discusses life and enjoys there meal together.
The meal table should not be a place to give out punishments or to say anything negative. It should be a place where the family loves to come regardless of good or bad. The meal table used to be the place where families could discuss the day, what happened, who did what, and prepare for the evening activities after the meal.
As I write these things, I would love for you to take these very blunt sayings very seriously. Figure out what it will take in your family to implement any or all of the suggestions, depending upon your need.
The practice that I mention above includes the parents. Many parents are the ones who have issue with this priority.
Mealtime should be a quality of life and time thing. Here are some suggestions:
– Provide a relaxed environment so that everyone wants to come to the table and eat; cranky child behavior usually comes because of negativity from other people around the table. Do yourself a favor, just don’t allow negativity at the meal table!
– Allow for any and all positive discussions; (negative ones can wait until later)
– Adults should lead or guide discussions, ask questions around to everyone to answer; don’t ask yes or no questions, ask open ended questions that will foster discussion and smiles;
– Encourage meals to be eaten in such away that time is considered. If you are in a rush, try to not rush so much during the mealtime where the family picks up bad habits and inhale their food to keep up with your busy pace. Plan a good pace that is steady for everyone;
– Adjust the chore schedule to allow for kids to set places and items on the table as well as to help in the clean up;
– If there are young children then plan to stay calm and teach them how to eat increasing their self-feeding skills while reducing “messiness”;
– Positively encourage children to try a small sample of a new food first to minimize waste;
– It may be necessary to schedule mealtimes that provide continuity and assurance for children with some flexibility for special activities, the weather and children’s individual needs;
– Take time to teach the children etiquette when eating. Be a model for them. Ask them to even imitate you while you are at the table.
– Discuss activities that can be done after the meal and clean up has finished. This could be discussing a day trip somewhere for the weekend, or a discussion about a special day that someone has coming up.
Eating great food is one of life’s great pleasures.