Integrated Family Community Services 3370 South Irving Street, Englewood, CO 80110-1816 Ph: 303-789-0501

Family Dinner: How to Get Everyone Around the Table

Family dinner is a place where a group of loved ones comes for much more than just a meal. It’s a time of sharing and being together. Whether everyone has busy schedules, or some don’t want to participate, we’ve got a few ways to get everyone around the family table.

Assign Roles

No matter the age of each person in your home, everyone can have a special role in the family meal. One person might set the table. Another might wash the dishes. The youngest one can throw away the trash. When people feel like they have a job, they get more involved in mealtime. They may moan and groan while clearing the table, but they’ll thank you for the memories later.

Make It A Priority

Don’t let the family dinner time get away from you. Everyone has a busy schedule. Make time as much as you can each week to have a meal together. It might not be every night, but make it a priority as much as possible. Make it a standard that certain nights everyone eats together so there’s no question if anyone allowed to leave and eat in their room. No one gets to take the food and run. When there is a free night or time, you’re all around the table sharing your day. The kids may roll their eyes that they want to eat while playing video games, but it’s a hard no.

Buy A Special Family Table

A table isn’t always just a table. Making the Kitchen Table an inviting space to be in will help to make it more enjoyable for everyone involved. There are tables like the dining tables from reclaimed wood in Boston MA, or other unique options that can make your dining area feel more inviting. Invest in a table your entire family loves to sit around. Make sure it feels like home to each of you. This family table is a place where you come to join together to share your lives. You want it to reflect who you are as a family. You want to be able to pass it down to the next generation. This table is something that holds laughter and tears for many generations to come.

No Phones

The dinner table is a place free of phones. It’s a place where the family needs to set the screens aside. The kids might not be too happy about this at first. This is supposed to get them to the table, not make them run away. They’ll thank you after dinner when they’ve had time to have some real conversation without being stuck on their phone. Your kids will get a boost from family time. They may even learn that it’s okay to unplug from the outside world at times.

Plan Ahead

Getting the family together each day might be tough if you don’t plan ahead. It’s hard to throw together an entire meal. Make theme nights so you know there’s Taco Tuesday and salmon on Thursdays, etc. Put your slow cooker to good use. Use an air fryer for quick chicken strips. You can even plan ahead to get everyone involved in the cooking session. Make easy things one or two nights so you can recruit the kids to help you. If you’re running in the door and need to throw dinner on the table, make it a night you order out.

Keep The Mood Happy

Family mealtime isn’t a time to get together and bark at one another for grades or choices. Play some upbeat music in the background, set out colorful napkins and/or play a word game to break the ice. This might be the only time you all get together in the week. Don’t let it be a time when someone feels bullied. You don’t even need to use this time to get into deep family discussions of college or even where you’re going on vacation. You can keep these conversations for another time. Let the family dinnertime be a time of laughter and love while you eat.

Order Pizza

If all else fails, make family dinner fun with pizza. It’s easy and fast. Everyone loves cheesy goodness. The bottom line is to bring everyone together with a fun meal. It doesn’t have to be pizza. Go for something wild and crazy. Order in once in a while so you don’t even have the stress of cooking. Then you get to watch everyone have fun while shoving food in their mouth. It’s that easy.

Tim Esterdahl

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