At this time of year, everyone is in a rush. Often September means the return of routines, but also the beginning of extra curricular activities, evening meetings and other dinner-disrupting obligations that can make gathering for a calm and upbeat family meal a real challenge. As our Executive Director Lynn Barendsen commented in a recent NPR interview, some parents find that “they finally get everyone to the table, and they’re already looking at their watches thinking about clean-up.”
In other words, fun isn’t necessarily on the family dinner agenda when our schedules are jam-packed, but it’s the one ingredient that’s guaranteed to make your shared meals a success. When mealtimes are enjoyable and relaxing for the whole family, it’s easier to connect in a meaningful way and to help family members build healthy lifelong habits. A stressful atmosphere turns everyone off to the table, so go ahead and have a little fun!
If dinnertime stresses you out, read our article on finding and embracing a routine that works for you.
As team member Amy discovered, even the most imperfect family dinner moments can be deeply memorable if you’re able to embrace them.
If you hate to cook, you can still love family dinner with these tips from Dr. Anne Fishel that keep the focus off the food and on the family.
As FDP friend and meal planning expert Aviva Goldfarb writes, sometimes you may want to consider foregoing the fun of extracurriculars to make room for the fun at your family dinner table.
It’s okay to let the table manners slide every once in a while, as a group of grandparents discovered when they joined their grandchildren in food-based play!
No matter what you’re making this month, try getting the kids involved with these tips! See Tips »
Bring some humor to the table with a family joke jar!
Our conversation starters for September are all about fun!
Name three things that are fun for you.
What’s your favorite silly face to make? What about a silly sound?
If you joined the circus, what would your circus act be?
Make up three silly new traditions for our family. What would they be?
If people count sheep to get to sleep, what do sheep count?
What’s the funniest or strangest thing that happened to you today?
If you could create a school dedicated to fun, what would it be like? What classes would be taught there?
What is your most unusual talent? Demonstrate it!
2023 The Family Dinner Project