It can be tough to get everyone around the table for dinner during the summer. With longer days and warmer weather, there are more opportunities to be out and about. But making family dinner a priority can have benefits for everyone. For example, family dinner has been known to improve relationships within the family, decrease the likelihood of developing eating disorders, and can help increase self-esteem. Here are four ways to make it more enjoyable this summer.
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Start With a Toast
Enabling everyone at the table to share a toast at the beginning of your dinner can set a good mood for the dinner and provide insight into what each person has been thinking about over the day. By opening your toasts in a light and friendly way, you can help create a light and friendly environment for the dinner table. Comparatively, you can be vulnerable and serious if you want to create conversations that are more vulnerable. Once you have an opening into their day, you can have a better idea of what to talk about and ask about everyone’s day. Additionally, you can guage for things that they are struggling with and what they want to spend more time doing.
Make It a Picnic
If you can’t get everyone to sit down at the table, take dinner outside! Have a picnic in your backyard or at a nearby park. You can even turn it into a potluck and have everyone bring their favorite dish. If the weather isn’t favorite for picnicking, bring your picnic into the house! Layout a blanket or two set out the food, and pretend you’re at the park. If you really want the extra ambiance, you could play a soundtrack of bird noises. Be silly, and have fun.
Make It Interactive
Cooking together is a great way to bond as a family. Assign each person a task to help with, whether it’s chopping vegetables, setting the table, or washing dishes. Create a menu together and be sure to leave off any foods that someone might not like. To enhance the fun, consider having ethnic food nights where everyone pitches in to try some new and exotic recipes. You’ll make some great memories, discover some new favorite foods, and learn about other cultures!
Make It Visually Appealing
Dining is most fun when it is presented as an experience. Dining room furniture should be part of that, so invest in good quality pieces that coordinate with your family’s style, and are versatile. Why not host a dress-up night with all the fancy frills, or wear old-world medieval dresses and pretend to dine at a kings table, or a rustic night with wooden plates and old iron utensils? You’ll have your family rushing to the dinner table just to see what surprise awaits them next!
Make It Social
If you have kids, turn dinner into a game! See who can eat their vegetables the fastest, or make it a contest to see who can come up with the most creative way to eat their food. You can even have a dance-off while you’re cooking to music. Share your exciting dinners with friends, and invite them to get involved with preparing the food. Perhaps they can bring along one of their family recipes to share with your own family! There are even games you could play during dinner, including those where you ask an interesting question and open some thought-provoking discussion.
The years go by quickly and family dinners are a great way to slow things down and connect with the people you love most. By making a few simple changes, you can turn dinner time into quality time that everyone looks forward to!