Family Dinners and Connecting

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From Marti:

How often do/did you eat dinner together when your kids were growing up? 

We tried to have family dinners as much as possible.  I would guess four or five times a week we had sit downs.  My husband maybe made four out of the five. Growing up it was easy but when they all became teenagers it was a lot more difficult.  Also, my husband's work hours were so erratic that many times I would feed the kids early and wait for him to come home to eat with him. He tried to get home before the kids went to bed and then he would eat.

How did this change as schedules got busier and the kids were all involved in activities?  Did you make a point to use other times in the day as connecting time?

One of  the things that we tried to do was --On Sunday after church because we were already in our dress clothes, we would have a "cocktail party".  It was just for our family.  The kids would hear mom and dad say they were going to a cocktail party so we decided to have our own family one on Sunday's.   I am not a drinker and my husband was not a big drinker.  He maybe would have a beer or some wine.   The kids and I would have juice or our favorite was root beer. He would offer them a taste and the first few times they would try and not like it so we never did have a problem with drinking. I would have snacks and we would talk about the week or what was going to happen. We always used the Good Dishes on Sunday. I didn't want to have them in the cupboard for use only for holidays

Before I would go to church I would put something in the oven so I would not have to fuss with much for a Sunday meal.   After the "cocktail hour" I would set out the meal and we would just help our selves when ever we were hungry.  It was "do anything day" i.e eat when you wanted too, swim, watch TV, play piano, games, play pool or even go for a hike.  If the  weather was bad they would put on plays. One of our sons had a very vivid imagination and the others just seemed to go along with him. It was nice because we had so many kids and so close in age that there was always someone to go with you. I was able to relax and watch football.

What are some ways you got the discussion going …especially when the kids get into the one word answer stage?

I found the "cocktail party" was a very good way for conversation to start.  This was a very relaxed time and because everyone was available and each had an audience they were very open.

 

Also, my husband was a very good listener and the kids really looked forward to his being with them.

 

From Beth:

How often do/did you eat dinner together when your kids were growing up?  

We eat dinner together every chance we can get. The kids’ fall activities haven’t started yet, so we’re eating together every night right now. I’m sure that will change, though! 

How did this change as schedules got busier and the kids were all involved in activities?  Did you make a point to use other times in the day as connecting time?

Well, it will definitely change soon, since all of the kids have separate activities happening in the fall. I feel like the kids practices and games are a great way for us all to connect and be together as a family. We love to talk to our kids in the car where we have their undivided attention. 

What are some ways you got the discussion going …especially when the kids get into the one word answer stage?

My 14 year old is so in that stage right now! I know I annoy her, but I just keep asking questions about how she feels about everything until she tells me something, lol.