Sitting down together as a family at mealtime is a wonderful way to hear about everyone’s day and enjoy each other’s company.
Some families are able to eat meals together every day, while others may have busy schedules that only allow for one or two times a week when everyone can come together at the same time.
Whatever your family’s situation, try to make the most of the meal times you do have together. Avoid outside distractions by shutting off the TV and phone. Use meal time as a chance to talk and have fun.
Spark some interesting conversations by preparing "Table Talk Topics". Ask all family members to come up with discussion ideas. Print each idea on a slip of paper, and draw one topic each day.
There is no limit to the unique, funny or thought-provoking conversations you might have! For example:
• If you could have one superhero power, what would it be and why?
• Where is one place you would like to visit?
• What are three things that you can do really well?
• If you could change your name, what would you like to be called?
• What is your favourite food? Your least favourite?
• What cartoon character is most like each member of the family?
• What did you learn today?
• What made you laugh today?
• How did you help someone today?
Another way to make family meals memorable is to have a special theme from time to time. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate, just different enough to be fun.
•Fingers Only Night: Serve a meal with no utensils. Adventurous families may try spaghetti or something equally messy, but for kids, any food is more fun if you can eat with your hands.
•Alphabet Night: Choose a letter of the alphabet and only serve foods that start with that letter. On "P" night, you might have pork, potatoes, peas, pickles and pumpkin pie.
•Dinner Bar: Put out a variety of ingredients and let everyone choose the toppings they like. Try a salad bar, taco bar, pizza bar, baked potato bar, etc.
Enjoying a meal together nourishes the body, the mind and the whole family unit.
Take advantage of this opportunity to bring your family closer together, start some new mealtime traditions, and make memories together.
Shawna Munro works at the Elspeth Reid Family Resource Centre, a facility of Child and Family Services of Western Manitoba that offers
parenting information and support.
» 255 Ninth St., Brandon
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition September 12, 2013