Tension at the table is one of the most common reasons families choose not to eat together. Whether it’s complaints about the food, a leftover fight from the day before, or lingering stress from a long day at work or with the kids, there are times that the dinner table can feel like a minefield. We understand.
But you don’t have to live with tension at the table.
Using the following tips from Anne Fishel,Ph.D. and our online program Food, Fun and Conversation: 4 Weeks to Better Family Dinners, you can now nip some of the most common dinner table stressors in the bud. This month’s newsletter also includes a stress-reducing quiche recipe, two fun, Thanksgiving-oriented activities, and age-appropriate conversation starters about gratitude.
Tips for Easing Tension at the Table
Foods such as berries, dark green vegetables, oranges, sweet potatoes, nuts and avocados are all good for reducing stress. (Of course, any food that everyone likes to eat will also increase enjoyment, and therefore decrease stress levels.) This month we’ve chosen a quick and delicious Quiche with some stress-reducing dark green vegetables from our Build Your Own recipes section. Yes, this quiche can be customized to suit different tastes, which as you know, also lowers tension. Enjoy!
ABCs of Gratitude. When you think about it, on even our worst days, we can still find things to be grateful for.
In this game, go around the table and have each member of your family share something for which he or she is grateful — but in alphabetical order. So maybe you’re thankful for animals, your son is grateful for bananas, and so on and so on until everyone is feeling gratitude from A to Z!
Or if you’re looking for a more crafty type of Thanksgving activity to do with your kids, making an apple turkey is simple and fun.
To make an apple turkey, you’ll need:
As you can see, creativity is encouraged, and maybe an apple turkey competition is in order? And you can always use your apple turkey as a Thanksgiving centerpiece!
Just like family dinners, practicing gratitude regularly is also linked to important mental and physical health benefits! Use November and this Thanksgiving season as an opportunity to explore gratitude with your children. Here are some age-appropriate conversation starters to help you get started. For younger children, you can describe gratitude simply as “feeling thankful.”
Ages 14 -100
Stay tuned for some special Giving Tuesday announcements coming later this month! Giving Tuesday is a campaign to make the Tuesday after Thanksgiving (December 3rd this year) a national day of giving. The Family Dinner Project is participating by providing tips and tools to help spark conversations about giving around the Thanksgiving table and beyond. We’re not just talking about giving money, but also about giving time and simple gifts of kindness. After all, Thanksgiving = Thanks + Giving, right?
In partnership with Giving Tuesday, we want to help more families make both giving and the family dinner year-round traditions. We hope you’ll join us!