Ahhh, summer break has arrived. Longer days, less structure, and more family time can be a recipe for bliss….or battles and boredom. So last night at dinner asked this question: “How can we make this an awesome summer for our family?”
My older daughter said she would like us to play volleyball and spend time at the river. My younger daughter hoped that we would have a lot of “free time.” And my husband wants to go camping several times.
I’m hoping for lots of peaceful time together, simply laughing and enjoying each other’s company.
These responses were a great reminder that even as my kids get older, they still love family time. Fun, low-cost activities easily trump screen time when we prioritize them.
So I made a summer to-do list (volleyball, river, free time, camping) and taped it to the fridge. When the inevitable bouts of boredom and conflict set it, I know exactly what we’ll do.
Ground Rules to Support Family Dinner Connection and Conversations
- Make the dinner table a safe space. Practice respectful listening. Do not make fun or embarrass anyone about what they share. (This rule has grown into a house rule too.)
- Turn off and put away devices. Make the dinner table a no phone, tablet, or TV zone.
- Make the conversations fun, especially as you get started. (Later, families may delve into more serious topics and discussions.)
- Choosing not to respond is okay. Allow family members just to listen if they prefer not to share.
- To start, introduce just one topic at each dinner. From there, decide what works best for your family.
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