Watch any sitcom, and you’ll likely see at least one idealistic family meal eaten around the dinner table. Everyone enjoys delicious food and is happy to share his or her day with the rest of the family. It’s a scene reminiscent of times when families broke bread together and reconnected at the end of a busy day.
Today’s families are busier than ever, and sitting down together around the dinner table isn’t a priority. Recent evidence suggests that maybe it should be again. Regular family meals promote better relationships, healthier food choices, and a happier existence, so here are five ways to revive this much-needed family tradition.
- Set the Scene
If your dining room is drab, and you’re eating off that rickety old table that you inherited from Great Aunt Bertha back in 1983, the chances are that your family is uninspired to gather there for meals. A dining room makeover can create a warm and vibrant atmosphere that will get the family excited to dine together again. It doesn’t have to break the bank. Stunning items, like gorgeous dining tables by Brosa, elegant chairs and beautiful lighting are all available at affordable prices if you’re prepared to do the necessary research and legwork.
- Make the Commitment
Wanting to be there and following through are two different things. You have to be firm in your plans to gather around dining tables and make it a point to be there on time. Designate blocks of time on a calendar that everyone has access to, so they all know what time to be there each day.
- Focus and Recommit at the End of the Day
Being busy can draw your attention away from the things you intend to do – like showing up at the table for supper with the family. It shouldn’t be an excuse, however, for reneging on your commitment. Set a reminder on your favorite device for the end of the day. When it goes off, that’s your cue to begin wrapping up whatever you’re doing and start heading home for your family’s pre-determined mealtime.
- Plan and Shop for Meals on Sunday
To make your path to the dinner table that much easier to navigate, plan and shop on Sunday for the meals you’ll make during the week. Look up recipes, draw up your grocery lists, and buy all the ingredients you’ll need to prepare delicious meals all week long. This way, there will be no panic or stress – you’ll already know what you’re making, and have everything on hand whip up gourmet delights.
- Make Mealtime Your Own
Traditional values tell us family meals should happen at the dinner table at 6 o’clock sharp. If this doesn’t work for you, don’t be afraid to break tradition and switch things up a bit. Move dinner time up or back to suit your family’s needs, and if eating around the table seems boring, make things a little more fun by taking your meal outside or playing a fun game while everyone eats.
- Open Your Table to Others
No one says family mealtime has to include just family. Friends, neighbors, or kids’ classmates make for great dinner guests, so try to invite them to dine with you once or twice a month. You’ll find that different people bring a fascinating conversation to the table.
Gathering around the dinner table to reconnect used to be a tradition most families took part in. These days, however, the tradition isn’t one practiced very often. You can revive the lost art of family mealtime by following the tips listed above.