Family Meals – Setting the Ground Rules

I’ve been on ‘vacation’ for the last week or so with my one year old a d husband along loads of extended family. So I’ve thought quite a bit about my own family meals as I’ve sat through numerous wonderful food gatherings.

My next Family Tip – Setting Ground Rules. My philosophy is to set wide parameters. No one likes to be mandated to do anything so my advice to be careful about being too strict

Here are a few on my list:

1. Everyone pitches in. No matter how you divide the preparation, set up and clean up, make certain each family member takes ownership of some part of the meal.

2. Highs and lows. I am not suggesting that you force ‘how was your day?’ conversation so be creative with how you work this one into the meal. For example, ‘What was your favorite part of the day?’ or ‘What did you learn today?’ or ‘What didn’t go so well today?’

3. Turn off the t.v. Enough said.

4. Looking forward. Another focus on conversation. ‘What are you most excited about for tomorrow?’ or ‘this week?’

5. Serve a variety of foods. Get creative! Make it fun for the family and include members in planning. Try a new dish or flavor! Set a theme! Or maybe try one night a week to serve only foods available locally. Maybe you and the kiddos will find that challenging motivating and inspiring!

6. Set a schedule as best as you can but don’t worry about being too rigid with the timing. What you want is routine and some form of commitment from your family members.

So there you have it. A few on my list. You can chose to share these rules with your family or keep them to yourself. My last piece of advice is to not go overboard with Ground Rules otherwise it all may backfire on you! Have fun and be flexible!

Cheers!
Marnie


Comments

  1. Great tips. Thanks! I agree, pitching in helps get the job done but also allows kids to feel that they are part of the process and so care more about it. I wrote a blog called “Forks on the Left” which talks about similar issues. We always talk about our day. The kids love it. http://www.veggietoddler.blogspot.com

  2. That is so great! I look forward to checking out your blog. Thanks for the comment.

  3. Just got the book The Family Dinner from the library, and it mirrors many of your tips and has so many great ideas for encouraging discussion and enjoyable family dinners. Plus, it has a lot of great stats about why family dinners matter. Thanks for writing about this topic.

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