Family dinners…prepping can cause me some stress, but when we are all finally seated and our plates are all full of yummy food-it’s so worth it! I wanted to share a couple of things that we do at dinner that have really helped make dinner last longer than 5 minutes (is it too much to ask after I’ve just cooked a healthy meal for 30+ minutes, to deserve 15 good minutes at the table!?!)
Prayer-we take out our basket full of 2011 Christmas cards that we just received in December and pick one family to pray for.
Decor–the manners candle. I saw this on Pinterest and knew I needed it for Asher. He needs a physical reminder to sit still and eat. James has to sit by him and practically feed him so he will continually eat, otherwise, he is under the table or hanging off the chair. The candle stays lit if he is chewing and sitting still. We just started this in January, so we obviously haven’t had our candle melt down to the bottom yet. But when it does, we will all go out to ice cream that night! The candle has been blown out a few times at the beginning of dinner, so we have a ways to work on this, but I think once Asher succeeds at getting the candle completely melted, he will get it!
Conversation-We start with our Rose and our Thorn (or Touchdown and Turn over for James and Asher). It’s our high and low of the day. We also ask what’s their Secret of the day-what is one thing they don’t think they should tell us, but we would want to know. It’s always pretty interesting what they come up with- “This boy hugged me on the playground” or “so and so told me she won’t be my friend anymore if I don’t give her my bracelet.” And one important rule about their secret: they won’t get in trouble for telling us! (When you send your kids to public school, you gotta do what you gotta do to keep open lines of communication!) 😉
James and I also use dinnertime to look over their work from school and talk about it. They get the biggest smiles on their faces when we give them credit for what they are working hard on at school. And it’s fun to read things like (from Rilyn), “If I found a magic wand I would turn everybody into an Aggie. I would be in paradise. Really. My dad would be so proud of me.” 🙂 Or Ella’s paper, When I grow up I want to be a “piss” (princess). 🙂
Another part of our conversation is from these cards I found free online and printed! We pick one to read each night and each take a turn to answer. There is like 300 cards so make sure you have ink in your printer!
And last, we try to read the Word during dinner. We have used these great books, Big Book Of Questions and Answers and the simpler version for younger children, My 1st Book Of Questions and Answers
as resources to discuss short topics from the Bible. Because this is February 1st though, we are starting our Valentine Countdown verses to discuss at dinner! 🙂