Tips for Successful Family Dinners
I am pleased to partner with Ore-Ida Bold & Crispy Fries #FindYourBOLD in their effort to encourage family dinner time. Although a sponsored post, this is a way of life for our family.
One of my goals in starting O Taste and See Blog was to encourage and equip families to take time each day from their busy lives, set aside everything and sit down to dinner together.
My husband and I decided early on in our marriage we would make sharing meals together a priority. When our children were younger it was easy. They weren’t involved in outside activities so we didn’t have many dinnertime conflicts. Now that they are older it’s not as easy but probably more important. Even on nights when they have other activities we still make time for dinner together.
Studies have shown many positive benefits for the children of families who regularly share meals together. Some of these benefits include lower rates of substance abuse, teen pregnancy and depression. These children also tend to have higher grade point averages and lower rates of obesity and eating disorders. Plus, you get to really know your kids and what’s going on in their lives.
Here are some Tips for Successful Family Dinners:
1. Set a Time and Schedule Other Activities Around It. This may take a little getting used to but it can be done. Even if you only have thirty minutes that’s Ok. Start with the time you have and you might be surprised. Your kids may want to spend more time around the table.
2. Set Aside ALL Distractions. Turn off the TV, put away video games and don’t bring the cell phones to the table. We have a hard and fast rule about phones at dinner….IT CAN WAIT.
3. Start Conversations. Studies have shown that dinner conversation is a more potent vocabulary booster than reading! Asking questions is always great but don’t make your children feel like they’re at the Inquisition. Tell funny stories and experiences you had as a child. Encourage your children to share things that happened during their day. Get everyone laughing. Bring up a “controversial” subject and have a lively (but kind) debate on the issue. Have a discussion about a great book that everyone has read or is reading.
*Side Note and Warning: If you have a child (like one of ours was) that liked to share these “funny” stories with their teacher or other adults that know you, you may want to limit these stories to funny or embarrassing things your siblings did…..just sayin’.
Need a little inspiration? Ore-Ida has some potential conversation starters.
4. Make Simple Foods. Sometimes elaborate meals are great fun but they aren’t necessary. If time is an issue make quick and easy food that will give you more time for eating and sharing. Also, get the family involved in preparing the food, another great way to spend time together.
Our simple meal of hamburgers and fries is a great example. It was a Saturday evening so my husband grilled. He and our son have a “grilling tradition”.
Our grill is charcoal so it takes a few minutes to heat up. My husband is teaching our son how to grill so they light the grill together and “chuck” the football in the backyard while they’re waiting for it to get ready. Great father-son time.
Inside, my daughters help me with setting the table and preparing the rest of the food. What goes better with burgers than fries?
On this particular evening we paired our burgers with Ore-Ida Smokey BBQ Oven Chips. It was a great way to add some BOLD flavor to our BBQ Burgers.
They were super easy! Spread on a baking sheet and bake. Done in about 20 minutes!
I had purchased all four of Ore-Ida’s new Bold & Crispy Fries flavors with this $1 Off Coupon. We did have a tough time deciding which one to try first.
Everyone LOVED them! One bag was just the right amount for our family of five…remember we are four “adults’ and one 13-year-old boy.
This was so yummy! We had a fun evening together and as with most of our family time…it started with some delicious and simple food!
I hope you’ll be encouraged to #FindYourBOLD and make time for Family Dinners.