Sunday, April 8, 2012

Friendship and Family





A miracle occurred this weekend. My three-year-old sat at the dinner table for over an hour. For a boy who usually lasts about five minutes (maybe 10 if we're having pizza), this was an astounding feat. It happened while we were attending a Passover seder at a friend's house. It was such a special night and our first experience at a seder. My kids were mesmerized by the songs and story-telling and rituals.

It got me to thinking that I should try harder to incorporate more dinner-table rituals into our family meals and see if we can't extend our time at the table. Kids are so naturally drawn to stories and songs and traditions. If you have any special meal-time customs that work well for your family dining--and capture a three-year-old's attention--I would love to hear them!

For this morning's egg-hunt, our city squirrels only managed to steal and gnaw through three plastic eggs before we got to them. Determined little critters, they are.

Here's hoping you too are enjoying a lovely weekend of friendship and family!

7 comments:

  1. We all say one thing we are grateful for and one thing we are intending for. My daughter is 9 but we started when we saw about 3.

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    1. Amy, this is such a great dinnertime custom. Thanks for sharing!

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  2. We do something called high/low. Each person shares the high of their day and the low of their day. We also each share something new we learned that day. Our children clear their plates and help clean up the meal. They are to sit at the table until we are finished talking. My children are 5, 3, and 1.

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    1. High/low is such a great concept. Thanks for sharing!

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  3. I struggle with keeping my kids at the table during regular meal times as well. Every Friday night when we celebrate Shabbat they do well (although they still don't stay as long as I would like) and I've begun to notice what keeps them at the table and try to incorporate that into our regular mealtimes. We eat by candlelight, put out a table cloth, and we thank the people who brought us the food we are about to eat (we get specific, which farmer and the names if we know them.) We also hold hands for a moment of silence. When we do this the table seems calmer, although it's still hard to keep their attention during the meal. Some things I've been thinking about trying (some we did when I was young) conversation starters on cards that the kids can pick and everyone can participate in, puzzle solving (we used to read from 2 minute mysteries) and reading chapter books during meal time. I think it's also about our attitude. Dinner time prep often feels rushed and so they come to the table already feeling rushed and my own response is to get more harried. So I've been tying to take a deep breath before we sit and really become present. It also helps me if all the food and drink are on the table before kids sit because then I can be sitting with them right from the start.

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    1. Leigh, this comment is so filled with great insight and I am going to take many of your suggestions to heart, particularly the deep breaths to become *present,* and more hand-holding at the dinner table! Thanks for sharing!

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  4. My daughter is very negatively focused, so we started saying our favorite part of the day at dinner time. She really seems to like it and is usually the one who starts the round.

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