I recently read someone else’s blog post on how their family dinner’s go and how they invest in one another and spend that quality time. We are one of those families who isn’t always together for a formal, sit down dinner each night. Nathan is typically home between 6 and 7pm most nights, except Wednesdays and Sundays. I now lead a bootcamp workout for a local business from 5-6 pm on Mondays and Wednesdays so Liam has dinner with a babysitter those nights unless Nathan is home. My struggle was always, “How do we have family time when we aren’t ever together?” I have always had big dreams for what I wanted our time to look like – Liam loves and eats everything we fix. The table is always set and uncluttered. The 3 of us are together at least 6 nights a week. We share about our days or read a devotional. We say a prayer before we eat.
I think none of this has actually happened for 1 full week. I finally realized that is no excuse for me to not set up some traditions and make something work for our family. Really, we aren’t that abnormal. I’m sure if you’re reading this, you don’t always sit down with everyone in your family every single night. And if you do, more power to you. Here’s my tips for making the most of those precious times together and what has worked for our family of 3.
1. Put the phones away…but keep them handy – Nathan and I are making it priority to really listen to one another and not have our heads on our phones during dinner or after for family time. But, there are always those funny Liam moments that I want to be able to capture. So I keep my phone on the ledge leading into the other room. It takes some effort to get it and it’s not at my fingertips but is there if I want to take a picture.
2. Read The Bible to your kids – We love the Jesus Storybook Bible. Liam doesn’t really care for it before bed because it’s a bit too long for his age and over his head. But I desperately want to pour these stories into my son. At dinner, he’s locked in (literally) and will actually pay attention. During mealtime is when I taught him who Jesus was and where God is (points to the sky).
3. Connect with your spouse – Nathan and I will share our days with one another but if it’s a Saturday and we’ve been together all day, there isn’t much sharing to be done so I printed off some relationship questions to read to one another to answer. Some are funny (favorite ice cream flavor or childhood memory) and some are serious (Do I need to seek forgiveness for anything?). So be prepared and feel free to skip if you’re just not feeling it. We also take them on longer car rides =)
Here’s the link to what I printed:Date Night Questions
4. Turn the TV off – We recently cut cable and that has changed our family dynamic. We used to always sit in front of it for dinner. We’d feed Liam then go sit in front while he played. While we still do it occasionally if we want to watch a show or it’s the weekend and Liam is in bed, but I am thankful we aren’t setting this example for him. And I love TV, so this is hard for me, but I’ve gotten so much of my day back by leaving it off.
Hope this helps you develop a better dinner time routine and don’t get stressed by having an unconventional schedule. I feel like we all do these days. Decide what will work for your family and try it out. Come up with your own tradition!