An exasperated grandfather we know recently sat down at the table, glared at his grandsons, and asked, “What is it about dinner that makes you guys decide it’s time to start fighting?”
His bickering grandsons are no different from most other kids. They’ve been used to having school, friends and extracurricular activities to give them a break from each other. Now they spend all day negotiating shared spaces to complete their schoolwork, music practice and other needs. By the time they sit down to dinner, their coping skills are spent. And the adults around them aren’t doing much better. Even families who have resolved to handle the shutdown with an upbeat attitude are starting to find their patience wearing thin. After more than a month of strict social distancing, everyone is feeling the strain of forced togetherness.
Unfortunately, we’re not likely to get back to normal routines anytime soon. It’s essential that we figure out how to help everyone get along during this uniquely stressful time, so here are some tips from Dr. Anne Fishel:
The current situation almost guarantees that families will experience tension or conflict of some kind. The best way to get through it is to remember that we’re all doing the best we can under very unusual circumstances, and to try to give our families — and ourselves — a little bit of grace and understanding. Hang in there!
Families across the country are getting creative in their quest to connect and share meals during quarantine. We talked to two different families who have found a way to make family dinner work despite being separated.
If cooking and dishwashing are a bit overwhelming by now, these savory “mug cakes” are the perfect solution. Each family member can make (and clean up) an individual serving using whatever ingredients you’ve got on hand!
A photo caption contest is a fun and creative family activity, either in person or online — and it can provide a way for grumpy family members to use technology at the table in a positive way.
Research shows that kids who know their family stories are more resilient in the face of challenges than their peers. These conversation starters can help everyone in the family remember that others have overcome difficult times, too.