One of the places in our home in which lively discussions were usually held (and continue to be so, especially when all thirteen of us are home together!) is the dinner table. There is a lot of talk online and other places about the importance of the family dinner table. I am so grateful that we took the time to be sure that we ate four or five meals a week together in the evening—around the table.
Here are some tips to get your family dinner time back—and get your table talk on:
1. If you want dinner time and table talk to be priorities in your home, you must make them priorities—while keeping in mind that priorities are what you do. When you say something is a priority to you, in order to truly be a priority, you must DO it. And you must establish a way to measure whether that priority is being met or not. In our case, we said that time together as a family in the evening was so important that we would be sure that everybody sixteen and under (and the parents!) would be home together three or four evenings a week. You must make your priorities into actions, and then you must make them measurable so that you can follow up with them.
2. Develop a dinner time routine that gives everybody a chance to talk. For example, you could do “two roses and one thorn” in which you go around the table and everybody tells two good things and one bad thing that happened that day. You could do a ‘’tell something good you saw in a family member today.” You could use cards from The Ungame or other discussion cards to be sure that everybody has a chance to share something that meal. You could also have people come prepared one a certain night or two to tell what they learned or an interesting tidbit to share, etc.
3. Consider using some dinner time, the clean up time, or after dinner sitting time for reading aloud together.
4. Clean up the meal together. We have such fond memories of cleaning up meals together—of learning patriotic songs together, of reciting poetry together, of laughing and cleaning, of racing the clock, etc. Dinner clean up went so fast because we always worked together (or at least in large groups—we sometimes used the dinner clean up time to do one-on-one discipling of one child while the other parent and kids cleaned up).
5. Consider reading a devotional or even fun chapter book or biography during the meal. We would do this at the end of the meal, and everybody looked forward to it so much.
Table talks are some of the best talking times in a group that we had as a family. Cherish that dinner hour—and re-implement table talks.