Most of us don’t have the time to breathe, let alone connect with our families. While living such busy lives, we fall more out of touch with our family members. And, although this distance makes the heart more affectionate, it also makes everyone awkward.
Family dinners can be difficult for many people, especially when there are a lot of unresolved issues and hurt feelings that lead to arguments. And, there are bound to be misunderstandings when no one has the time to have a proper conversation.
Turn your awkward dinners into a thriving and enjoyable time for all family members. Here are some tips to help you connect with your family members while eating at the dinner table.
Interactive Meal Planning
Many disagreements and fights occur at the dinner table because of food. Eating food is a pleasurable activity, particularly when we eat our brain releases endorphins, the “feel-good” hormone.
However, when we have to eat something that we don’t enjoy or are bored we can easily get upset or angry. This is quite common in houses with kids, especially when they are picky eaters. But, this doesn’t mean that you should let your kids eat unhealthily. Looking for healthy and tasty dinner meal ideas? Visit thekitchenmagpie.com, for delicious and wholesome recipes.
Eating healthy dinners doesn’t have to be unenjoyable. With the right ingredients, methods, and a little creativity, you can make every meal taste good. What you do need is to plan your meals.
Make dinner menu planning an important part of your life. If face-to-face interactions or even phone calls are hard to make, try planning by messages. Open a family chat group where all the members are included, where you interact and plan your dinner menu. Discuss and consider everyone’s input, so that everyone can enjoy eating dinner.
When one person is responsible to cook dinners every day of the week, that individual will end up brewing negativity.
But, that doesn’t mean the children or full-time working family members should come home from school and cook for themselves(unless there are no other options!). The key to a peaceful household is to share chores.
So, encourage the entire family to help prepare the dinner. With everyone carrying out separate tasks, the burden to cook will not fall on one person. Cooking together is a great way to talk and connect even before the dinner starts, making interaction easier at the dining table where the meal is enjoyed.
When the entire family is helping to cook the meal, they will realize how much work goes into the process. And, this is a great way to ensure that they think twice before commenting about the food!
Disconnect While At the Dinner Table
Back when TV became available in every household, the trend of watching TV while eating started. As everyone was busy during the day, dinner time became prime time for silver screen entertainment. However, it also became the death of time spent together.
The invention of more sophisticated technology like smartphones and tablets came as the final nail in the coffin. These days, people don’t even look at each other while eating dinner. They are distracted scrolling down timelines, playing games, watching videos, etc.
So, if you want to connect with your family, you must first ask them to disconnect. Make a rule of no devices and distractions while eating. In the beginning, the protests will come. But, when they see how adamant you are in the “cause”, they will appreciate the downtime spent together.
Disconnecting from devices will shift your mind from other subjects and bring the focus back to each other, which is crucial if you want to spend quality time with your family.
Ask About the Day
Sometimes family members know less about each other than friends and co-workers, and this happens because of stress, distractions, and lack of interest.
After all, we frequently take those we love for granted. Showing interest and trying to know each other better can help you connect with your family.
One exercise to practice is asking about everyone’s day. When you ask how each family member has spent their day, you get an update about their daily lives. You learn about their daily happiness and tragedies. If they are facing problems, this can be a safe place for them to open up.
Getting involved in each other’s lives and knowing each other better is a great way to create good understanding, which can help avoid conflicts.
Fight the Urge of Negative Interaction
So one moment you are in the middle of enjoying a delicious Italian dinner and the next moment you get an earful from your father about all the mistakes you have made in life. This kind of scenario is bound to ruin your appetite.
When you are stressed, angry, and frustrated, it is easy to get carried away. Unresolved issues can lead to pointing fingers, screaming, sarcastic remarks, and all of those can get everyone’s blood boiling.
So, whether your reactions and words create a heated or cold mood, any negative interaction should be “Off the table” during dinner.
When you bring up unresolved issues at the dinner table, you not only upset the person of conflict but also make everyone else awkward and uncomfortable.
Bringing marital trouble into the dinner conversations has a terrible effect on your children. It can scar them for life and lead to a lifetime of unhappiness. Ask yourself, ‘are your petty arguments worth the trauma your child will go through?’ If it is not, then avoid fights while eating together.
Effective dinnertime interactions are the key to healthy and strong family bonds. Make memories with your family and don’t become a reason for their mental health issues. Disconnect from the outer world and work together to keep the family healthy, happy, and interactive.