Top 10 Tips for Implementing Family Dinners…(Tips 6-10)
Dr. Leigh Weisz and Dr. Lisa Gordon Presented this content at a middle school. (See the previous newsletter for tips 1-5)
As we already discussed family mealtime is actually the single best predictor of academic achievement scores.
Here are Tips 6-10 to Implement Family Dinners:
6) You can help your children develop good table manners by rewarding them with getting to choose the meal for next week if they have decent table manners. You can have a “special day plate or placemat” that you rotate for the child who has helped someone that week, done something that was brave, and so on.
7) Try out an activity such as “High/Low”, where everyone takes the floor at the dinner table and shares what the best part of their day was (their high) and the worst part of their day (their low).
8) For little ones, teach social skills like how to take turns speaking. You can be creative and use a “magic fork” which entitles the person who holds it to have the floor. This facilitates taking turns and makes sure everyone gets a chance to contribute to the conversation.
9) For older children, you might bring up a topic that everyone can discuss at the table—for example, something on the news or something going on in their neighborhood. This is a nice technique to get adolescents to talk since they might not want to talk about themselves. For the surly adolescent, you might consider asking very specific questions like “I’m thinking about planning a family vacation…does anyone have any ideas?” OR you might have a QUESTION of the night, like “What are you grateful for? What were you proud of today?”
10) If your children or adolescents DON’T talk, it’s not a failure…..it’s a success just to share the space and meal with your family–It’s together time.
Dr. Leigh Weisz
Specializing in Therapy and Testing for Children