As we sat around our dinner table last night, I posed this question to my family. Family Dinner Topic: “What’s at the top of your post-quarantine bucket list?”
The responses were heartfelt and simple: “Hang out with friends and neighbors, eat at a favorite restaurant, go to the library, walk to the ice cream shop, get back to sports practice or a fitness routine.”
It’s only been a few weeks, but the nostalgia for these regular activities was apparent. As each of us shared, the others nodded in agreement. These simple pleasures that we have taken for granted, add so much to our lives.
Had I asked this question a month ago, I’m sure the answers would have been very different. The COVID-19 quarantine has jolted our lives but also brought clarity to what truly matters. Family, friends, good health, and community fill our post-quarantine bucket list. What about you?
“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”Mother Teresa
For suggestions on creating routine during the pandemic, check out the post: Six Tips to Create Family Routines and Calm in Uncertain Times
Benefits of Family Dinner
Research finds that families that eat dinner together several times a week experience the following benefits:
- Better academic performance
- Higher self-esteem
- Greater sense of resilience
- Lower risk of substance abuse
- Lower risk of teen pregnancy
- Lower risk of depression
- Lower likelihood of developing eating disorders
- Lower rates of obesity
Ground Rules to Cultivate Family Dinner Connection & Conversations
- Make the dinner table a safe space. Practice respectful listening. Do not make fun or embarrass anyone about what they share.
- Turn off or 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 conversations.
- Choosing not to respond is okay. Allow family members to just listen if they prefer not to share.
- To start, introduce just one topic at a couple of dinners each week. From there, decide what works best for your family.
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