I took the pledge to #takebackthetable to show how important it is to spend more time with family at meal time. This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Vanity Fair® Napkins. The opinions and text are all mine.
Back in September, our family accepted the Vanity Fair #TakeBacktheTable Challenge and vowed to each dinner together at the table at least one extra night a week.
Our family regularly eats at the same time because we keep our evenings as open as possible, but my husband and I often drift to the adjacent living room since the children can be loud or because we want to watch the news while we eat.
Sitting apart at meal times is not a habit I ever intended to happen.
Why have dinner at the table?
Growing up, my family always had dinner at the table. Fast food did not become an option for our family until I was much older. So, I have fond memories of sitting at the table for our evening meal with my mom, dad, and brother.
For instance, I remember the time my brother insisted that he could not eat another bite of peas or he would explode. Honestly, his intestinal fortitude was quite secure. He just didn’t like peas. So, my mother encouraged him to eat “just one more bite.”
He ruefully placed another bite in his mouth and suddenly jumped from his seat, propelling himself backwards making a whooshing sound, and flung himself against the wall. He sunk slowly to a puddle in the floor.
My mother asked him “what in the world” was wrong to which he replied, “I blew up.”
Memories like that don’t happen when the mom and dad are in one room and the kids are in another.
Neither do the conversations I often share with my own children about their day, their dreams, and what they think the funniest thing to ever happen was. I enjoy their imaginary tales as we use Rory’s Story Cubes to be creative and tell three sentence stories. I love their reactions to our dinner conversation starters and seeing their faces as they concentrate, thinking of the perfect answer.
None of these moments are possible when we are not at the table together.
But, I know that eating at the table as a family is not always going to happen. Our job – mine and your’s – is to just make sure it happens as often as possible.
That’s why I want to encourage you to accept the #TakeBaketheTable Challenge and choose to eat at the table more often. One night, two nights, every night. You decide the goal that works best for your family and jump through the hurdles to see meal times become more meaningful.
Then, challenge a family you know through social media to accept the challenge too.
Tips for having dinner at the table more often
Since taking the challenge, I noticed several habits that deterred us from having our meals at the table. We (meaning “I”) had to pay special attention to these details to make our meals possible and enjoyable.
Keep the table clean.
When clutter is on our smallish dining table, it is very uncomfortable (nearly impossible) for all six of us to sit together. A table free of mail, homework, art projects, and junk made meal times happen more often. So, we have to be proactive in keeping the table clean.
Involve the family.
When our family works in the kitchen together or functions as a team to set the table for a meal, sitting together becomes a natural extension of our experience. It just seems natural that we sit together at dinner after working with one another to make the meal happen.
Make it a tech-free zone.
Our children do not have cell phones but they do have tablets and too often we hear music and strange noises coming from under the table. Having electronics at our table is strictly forbidden because not only do they distract us from one another but the tension seems to rise as well.
Talk to one another.
If it has been a while since you had dinner at the table as a family, you might be surprised to find that conversation does not come easily. So, be prepared with conversation starters. Open-ended questions like:
- On a scale of one to ten, how was your day? What could have made it a ten?
- What are you most excited about that is coming up in the next six months?
- If you could spend a day with a super hero, who would you pick and why?
Have a dessert.
Increasing the number of times we share a meal at the table is easy when we all expect a dessert or special treat will follow. So, we often skip out after dinner to pick up ice cream cones from a drive through or bake brownies to munch while watching silly kitty videos on YouTube.
Clean the kitchen together.
No one wants to end a meal being stuck with the dishes. So, extend this time of family fun by working together to get the kitchen in order after the meal.
What tips can you share for having meals together as a family? How many nights a week do you commit to having dinner together?
I took the pledge to #takebackthetable to show how important it is to spend more time with family at meal time.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Vanity Fair® Napkins. The opinions and text are all mine.
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