Gathering together for breakfast or dinner time is a busy and loud activity. Is it in your house?
There needs to be lots of conversation about who is collecting the cutlery and all the things that’s needed for the table. We need to know what we’re all eating and where we are eating. The list goes on and on.
With so many different activities, many self directed there is a good chance there will be tension, dissatisfaction and upset creeping in with the added time crunch meal gatherings can become really stressful and emotional. We were not experiencing much meal time bliss.
With three opinionated boys setting the table, sitting down to a meal starts with mellow and good intentions but once we’re all there there’s often a hint of frustration as an uninvited guest at the table.
It’s hard to not to jump into the discussions and often I do find I’ve become the referee. Kids have a wonderful memory of how many times they last put the table mats on the table verses their brother and how many times they put on the glasses.
These types of squabbles were escalating in our house and really didn’t make going to the table a nice experience.
Sitting across the table from frustrated and moody children, some wailing and others refusing to sit next to another because they didn’t get to do the activity of their choice. Who wants to start dinner with a rant and being frustrated themselves?
We’ve tried some ideas out recently that have eased this somewhat or maybe shifted theses feeling. Read on our 4 Tips for Meal Time Bliss
Once we’re all at the table, the tension is acknowledged and let’s take a few deep breaths and pause to take in the smells and sight of the food.
Diversion and experiencing the moment.
Just hearing the statement of us acknowledging there was some problems setting the table and lets leave those behind right now and focus on the food and the family here. We’ve tried 20 seconds……………long for wiggly boys at the table to not spontaneous erupt in laughter. We’re upto 35 seconds at the moment. The aim is 60 seconds. It’s a good mood changer.
Entering the room….
‘Meet at the table for dinner so we’re happy to be there‘
This means we keep our emotions in check ( and perspective) We have glasses on the table and table mats and they both help us have a meal. We’re thankful for choices and brothers to share.
‘We sit at the table when we’re free of scowls‘.
This may mean we leave the room and try some of the calm down techniques we have pinned up. We may decided to leave and go wash our face and cream it. Something about this three step process that calms and soothes the boys. Once they are back their mood seems better.
Sometimes as they leave we remind them to take their smile out of their pocket and see if they can find a place for it. The humor sometimes lightens the mood and out of the deep funk….. but not always.
Varying the candle we have a large pillar candle we make center star of the table. With one placing it on the table, one lighting it and one blowing it out. There’s something about a candle that lifts the mood and removes the most furrowed brow in our family. We have many jar tea lights we can place around or on the table with a light scent or not.
Lowering the lights also helps to create an atmosphere and the flickering light dances around the room a calmness has chance to descend.
Acknowledging where the food has come from via a verse, prayer or statement gives us all a chance to be grateful for the food and where it came from. We have prayer sticks to help the message stay on target and giving a foundation to build their thanks on. No one is forced to say anything. Each meal it varies from one person saying something to the whole family saying a line.
There are days when we need to do all of these activities and most days we do some of them because it’s just a lovely way to enter into a family meal time. So we can have fun
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