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Family Bonding at the Dinner Table - How to Make Meals into Memories and Moments

family dinner bondingIt’s no secret that families dining together offer myriad benefits for bonding and childhood development.

Statistically, there are decreases in rates of childhood obesity and fewer eating disorders among children who regularly eat meals as part of a family unit.

Families who sit down to eat together are able to talk about the stresses of the day, which can help lower depression.

For younger kids, sitting together at the dinner table at the end of the day encourages a sense of belonging and security. For older kids, it gives them the opportunity to feel supported and talk about whatever is on their mind. The list goes on.

But how can you help make to make meals into memories and moments when life gets chaotic? We have some tips!

How to Make Meals into Memories and Moments

Be present

For us, this is the biggest key to making meals into moments. We have a standard no phones at the table policy during meal time. That way, we encourage talking and engaging with one another. 

The only exception to this rule is if I’m traveling for work and then sometimes my husband will have his phone on and I’ll FaceTime in so I can be a part of the dinner conversation.

Celebrate “big” days with a special meal

Celebrating “big” days such as birthdays and anniversaries with an entire special day is a great way to make the honoree feel extra special and create memories.

You can start the celebration with breakfast and celebrate all day long. Treat the birthday child to waffles or pancakes with chocolate chips or a homemade bacon, egg, and cheeses sandwich breakfast.

We always let the birthday child pick their special dinner, too. You can then end the day with a skillet apple cobbler!  

family bonding at the farmer's marketVisit the farmer’s market

A family visit to the farmer’s market is a perfect way to get everyone involved in selecting the produce and other local goods for your next meal.

You’ll get to choose from fresh, local produce and if you’re lucky, you’ll even find some great snacks to nibble on the way. We love grabbing things like fresh apple cider donuts or local cheese curds while we’re shopping for produce at our farmer’s market.

Pick a family dinner night

In theory, it would be perfect to have a family dinner every night of the week. However, if your family is anything like ours, the reality is you likely have kids running in in multiple directions any given school night.

Active kids are great, but it can create a challenge to sit down as a family every night of the week. If that’s the case, you can pick a night or two when there aren’t activities and make that your go-to family dinner night.

If you have even one night a week to create family meal memories, that’s better than none — and you can have a slew of helping hands to prep and create a meal to remember each time to have family dinner night.

Keep it simple

Family dinner doesn’t have to be fancy! Nearly every Monday is burrito night in our house. It’s quick and easy, and the kids can do all the prep work and cooking.

By making it simple and involving the kids in the creation of the meal, we’re able to still squeeze in a family dinner night at a time that would otherwise be chaotic.

Jana Seitzer is owner/editor of Whisky + Sunshine, a travel and lifestyle blog. A former journalist, she provides reviews of destinations around the world. Jana specializes in family travel, adventure, and travel with tweens & teens. 

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