What happens at dinner when you sit down together as a family each evening is far more important than the meal you serve. You have a chance to keep up on what is happening in each person’s life. You have an opportunity to show that you are interested in your children and what they are doing. At the dinner table you have a chance to be a close family. Dinner is an opportunity you don’t want to pass up.
You need to tell her what happened in your day as well as hear about hers. This should be a sharing time that goes both ways.
Talk about interesting things. What happened in the world? How was the traffic today? What did the dog do that was funny? Who did she play with at lunch time? What was the most interesting thing that happened to each of you today? This is education and it certainly is bonding.
Dinner doesn’t take a long time but it is an important time. So turn off the TV. Don’t try to solve problems of the day. (In fact, don’t let problems or anger be discussed at dinner.) Don’t try to push food or make an issue about how much your child eats or which vegetables he skips.
Let each person talk for part of the time. Listen to each other. Ask questions about your partner’s day but keep things in balance so the children are included.
Make dinner the highlight of your day. Your dinners will be remembered by your entire family for a long time.
Cynthia Martin is the founder of the First Teacher program and director of Parenting Matters Foundation.