Dinner time is one occasion where families can sit down together and enjoy the meal in a relaxed way. This would help you unwind a stressful day and also give an opportunity to share your happenings with your family members. It helps in establishing an intimacy, making it possible for the members to discuss any issues freely with each other.
With the fast pace of living world and with families drifting away because of distance and professional reasons, family dinner times have sadly become a rarity. However, this is one good time where parents can teach children the values and the foundation that they want to build in through stories, real-life incidents, news articles, books, experiences and a lot more. The children start loving the attention the parents give and also are in a listening mood as there is a relaxed ambience around. Indirectly, since dinner times are together, food wastage is lesser and you end up saving extra bucks on your expenses in addition to having a private and enjoyable time with your children.
A family dinner does not mean that you cook dinner and everybody sits in front of television and watches a program. This is the time dedicated for sitting together on a table, talking and sharing views with an open mind. It is a time for parents to understand how the mentality of the child develops.
Do not be overambitious about family meals. In the current scenario, it may be very difficult for setting some time every night for such a get-together. However, try to allot at least once or twice a week to do so.
Get the kids involved in helping so that they develop a mentality to help out in the chores. Spend time exclusively with the kids. Allow them to talk freely to you and express their opinions. Do not snub or scold them for small mistakes.
You may allow the kids to plan a meal and help them build the ability of decision making, event management and delegating. Once they are fully involved, they would start enjoying family dinners and look forward to it.
Do not force kids to eat food that they do not cherish. Instead, cook dishes they love to eat. Make the dinner nutritious and nourishing so that even if they eat a small quantity for the meal, it would suffice. Encourage them to help themselves with at least one serving of each dish so that they learn to appreciate the effort you put in for cooking.
Ask the kids to share any experiences that affected them. You would also be building the skill of expressing. They would start loving your company and also develop decent table manners.
Some occasions may come up where you may be faced with tough parenting challenges or difficult or embarrassing questions to answer. Handle the questions in a matured way but never criticize or discourage the child from asking you. Kids may also tend to be playful during such informal times. Enjoy those moments and do not reinforce too much discipline unless really necessary.