The beautiful tradition of a family "sit down" dinner seems to be getting lost in our society today. This makes me very sad. I know at our house we are too often on the run, grabbing take out in the car. Or only half of the family is there. Or we're cramming dinner down fast on our way to the next event. This habit spills over into nights when we don't even have much going on, and people drift from the table to watch a TV program or do homework. Studies show that when families sit down to dinner together regularly, kids get better grades and have lower risk of eating disorders and getting involved with addictive substances. There is also a lower risk of depression in teens who eat dinner with their families on a consistent basis.
So I've decided that enough is enough.We're going to rescue the family dinner at our home and as I come up with ideas on how to do this I'll post them in a series here beginning with this one.
In order to encourage conversation around the dinner table I put together a basket full of slips of paper containing the "question of the night." Each evening as we sit down to the table to eat, a child will get to draw a question from the basket that each family member will answer. Some examples of possible questions are:
"What is one rose and one thorn from your day?" (one good thing that happened and one bad)
"If you could be an animal which would you be and why?"
"What color describes your mood today?"
"What is your favorite movie?" (or book, or family vacation etc.)
"Who is a famous person from history that you admire and why?"
"Name something you are thankful for"
You can tailor the questions to the ages of your children and let the kids participate in coming up with questions for the basket. It really is a lot of fun and engages the children in what's happening at the table, so they don't rush so quickly through their food while thinking about what comes next. Plus it's a great way to learn a little more about each other too.