It’s an undisputed fact that eating dinner together regularly has benefits for the entire family. Younger kids tend to have a broader vocabulary. Older kids tend to have healthier body weights. Teenagers are less likely to develop eating disorders. And those are just a few of the benefits! The dinner table is a safe place to talk and connect, and often the entire family will be more forthcoming about their day. Sometimes, dinner is the only time that everyone can put down their cell phones for longer than five or ten minutes.
But for a family that hasn’t been eating together and wants to start doing so (or, rather, mom/dad wants to), it can be hard figuring out where to start. A good resource is Anne K. Fishel’s Home For Dinner. Fishel is cofounder of The Family Dinner Project, an organization that aims to help families start getting together for dinner (or breakfast, or lunch), and Fishel collects a number of their best tips in this fantastic new book.
“Rituals help create a shared family identity and a sense of belonging.”
Want to get your kids to eat the food you’ve cooked? There are tips here for getting them involved in the cooking, and therefore emotionally invested in the end project. Not sure what to talk about besides “So, how was your day”? There are all kinds ideas for topics, including specific prompts that invite a deeper connection between family members, and how to turn your conversation into games. Like the idea of games? There’s plenty of those in here too! Fishel includes family-friendly recipes, ideas for storytelling, and so much more.
It’s impossible to read this book and not want to revamp your family dinner, or start a new ritual if you don’t already have one going. Fishel’s friendly writing style invites readers in and offers a myriad of ideas without making readers feel any sense of guilt for needing help in what many might think should be an intuitive process. This is a book readers will turn to again and again for inspiration.