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10 Ways to Make Family Mealtime Fun

Before the days when smartphones ruled the world, members of an average American family used to converse more frequently in the evenings. Whether it be at dinner or in the den gathered on the couch watching TV, it used to be simpler for families to bond over a shared experience. But then technology advanced and gave each member of the family a way to escape to a personal world of entertainment within an app or a game on a smartphone. As a result, conversations and shared discussions among family members suffered.

However, there are methods that your family can take to turn back the clock to a time when sharing the stories of the day was commonplace. And the most effective method to do so is to recapture the magic that used to occur at the dinner table before smartphones stole everybody’s attention. To do that, though, you have to know how to make the experience exciting enough to convince your children to take part. The following is a list of ten ideas you can use that will help your family reap the benefits of mealtime by adding doses of fun to the gathering.

1. Rotate Foods From Around the World

Make every meal a unique experience by shifting among popular foods from different countries. For example, serve Mexican food on Monday, Italian food on Tuesday, Chinese food on Wednesday, and so on. Also, do not forget about smaller countries by researching obscure recipes from regions all over the globe. Kids can broaden their minds by learning about cuisine from a variety of cultures.

2. Invite Special Guests

Just because mealtime is an opportunity for your family to gather does not mean you cannot have other guests at the table. By adding a neighbor or friend to the mix, you will add another voice to the conversation that could keep your family’s dining experience from turning stale.

3. Turn Dinner into Breakfast

There is no reason that eggs, bacon, and pancakes have to be reserved for the morning hours. Try serving breakfast to your family at dinner to add an unexpected twist to the meal. Watch your children’s eyes light up when you break out the waffle maker in the evening.

4. Give Everyone a Task

Children enjoy having responsibilities that they make their own. Hand out specific tasks for each child to be responsible for, and rotate the tasks from week to week. Not only will this take the load off the person who is typically responsible for each part of the meal, but it will also turn the entire dining experience into a team effort.

5. Choose Costumes to Wear

Dinner used to be more formal. Although the standard now is to show up in a t-shirt and jeans, your family does not have to experience mealtime the same way as other families. Celebrate the dining experience by dressing up. Whether it is formal wear or costumes from different eras or cultures, adding flair to the clothes that are worn at the table will help your family feel more immersed in the conversations that take place.

6. Create a Theme

In addition to costumes, try coming up with a unique dining room design that celebrates a certain theme or culture. If you are eating Mexican food, add a pinata. If you are eating Italian food, add some red, white, and green stripes to the area to imitate the design of that country’s flag.

7. Practice Conversation Skills

Turn typical conversations at the dinner table into a game to stimulate the talk and teach proper manners when communicating. Maybe incorporate a talking stick that can be passed around, where the person who is holding the stick is the only one who can speak. This will teach your kids not to interrupt and will add a fun game to the dining experience.

8. Imitate a Restaurant

Pretend your dining room is a restaurant by placing menus at the table listing the different courses for that night’s meal. If you want to get super fancy, use the dining table and chairs that are reserved for special occasions or holiday meals. Your “restaurant” will be chic and classy. You can also dress up with an apron and a name tag so that your kids can pretend that you are their server.

9. Move Locations for Each New Course

Start with an appetizer on the front porch. Move inside to the dining room for the main course. Finally, tell your family that dessert will be served in the backyard. By moving locations throughout the experience, your family will always be anticipating what’s next.

10. Create a Playlist

Playing light background music will not disturb conversations. In fact, it will only add to it. Mix up the playlist from one night to the next, letting your children take turns picking the genre of music that will be played.


Tim Esterdahl

Tim Esterdahl is the editor of IFCS blog. He is a married father of three and enjoys golf in his spare time.
Tim Esterdahl

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