Dinnertime Dilemma

1:10 pmin Articles, Ask the Coach Rosemary Strembicki

Game night

I know experts say it’s important that families eat dinner together, but in my family that’s just not possible.  Now I hear a new study says it’s not that important which, if true, would help alleviate my guilt.   What do you think? 

I think it’s the time spent together that’s most important.

For many of us our lives are so busy that we lose sight of the times when we can share our thoughts and feelings as a family.  In the past, when fewer moms were working and the school day didn’t extend into the evening, the dinner table was the center of family interaction.  Now we have to be a little more creative in making it happen.

A regularly scheduled time would be ideal so everyone understands the importance of being together and staying connected.  Structure and predictability give a sense of security that helps us meet the demands of our lives and setting the time aside sends the message that time together is valued.  But you can be flexible in how often and where it happens.  Would a Sunday brunch at home or a restaurant work for your family, or a family game night?  The activity isn’t as important as the opportunity to acknowledge and share what is happening in each one’s lives.

And never underestimate the opportunity of daily travel together whether it‘s in a car or public transportation.  Those impromptu gatherings can be very powerful in creating a sense of togetherness no matter how brief they may be.  Accentuate the positive when you’re between stops and use the time to reconnect.

Questions to consider:

  • How often do we spend time together as a family?
  • Do we have a regularly scheduled time?  If not, could we create one?
  • If not a meal, what activities do we (or could we) share as a family on a regular basis?
  • Do I feel a strong connection with each member of my family or are there times we need to be more intentional in order to foster those bonds? 

Conversation starters:

  • Sometimes life gets so busy, I feel like we don’t get a chance to connect.  Let’s plan a time to do something fun together.  What would you like to do?
  • Family time is important to me.  It’s a chance for us to ___________________.
  • We all need to explore our own interests and friends, but it’s also important that we spend time together as a family…
  • So, what’s the best thing that happened to you today? 

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