Meet the Budheges family! Mom Sheri first connected with The Family Dinner Project through our shared connection to #DeviceFreeDinner, an initiative of our friends at Common Sense Media. As the designer and entrepreneur behind Crate Your Phone, Sheri is committed to finding ways for her family to connect face-to-face at the dinner table.
Sheri, Ben and kids Bella (10) and Brooklyn (8), of Valencia, CA.
Like most families we know with school-aged kids, the Budheges family is working on finding more time in the week when they can all come to the table together for a sit-down meal. Sheri says that a big priority is “making sure that I have dinner planned. If I can’t make (dinner), then having something in the crockpot so it’s not a hassle to get dinner on the table…makes it easier to find the time to get everyone to sit down together.”
Sports and extracurricular activities take a big bite out of the Budheges family schedule, so figuring out when and how dinner can happen — before tonight’s activity? Afterward? Who can be present? How much time will it take to prepare something? — can be a juggling act. In addition, like many on-the-go families, there’s a pull to be connected to electronic devices even during dinnertime, which Sheri and Ben would prefer to avoid.
While meal planning and using the crockpot strategically can help even when the calendar seems crazy, Sheri also notes the importance of finding, preserving and taking advantage of unscheduled moments. Two nights a week, the Budheges kids are unscheduled, and Sheri and Ben make a point of keeping that space open for family dinners. “We make sure to have a really good sit down family dinner on those nights at least.”
To ensure that the time together is meaningful, Sheri uses her own product — a custom-designed phone crate — to put electronics on hold. “I’m biased because it’s my product,” she admits, “but it really does remind us to put our phones in the crate so we’re not distracted during dinner!”
Interestingly, the Budheges family’s favorite family dinner of the week has less to do with food preferences and more to do with consistency. Brooklyn and Bella look forward to Taco Tuesdays “because it’s something they can always count on.” Because Tuesday night is one of their “unscheduled” evenings to spend more time at the table, they are able to look forward to both the routine of gathering with family and knowing that tacos will be on the menu — a simple family ritual that will surely be the source of many memories.
Connecting with The Family Dinner Project has encouraged the whole family to try new dishes, while reinforcing their already strong commitment to making dinnertime a valuable part of family life as often as possible.
The Best Part:
Sheri says simply, “The conversation!” We can’t help but agree.
Tags: #DeviceFreeDinner, busy, family dinner, kids, real family dinner projects, schedules, technology at the table