Back to School challenge: Bring your family back to the table
The Marysville Parenting Examiner is participating in the Back To School event that joltleft.com is hosting. In the previous article, one of the challenges MPE has established is that parents take the time to set aside one night a week where the family can come together and participate with one another. Far too many times, in our busy schedules and obligations, we tend to forget the most fundamental relationships in our lives, and that is the family. Therefore, here is the first challenge for Marysville, Washington Parents this week.
Bring your family back to the table
Here is how this challenge works. Pick one night this coming week where you plan to prepare a meal together (as a family) and also sit at the table to enjoy this meal. Simple meals work best where all children and parents can participate. Do not worry if you are a single parent, or a young family with young children. The purpose of this challenge is to work as a team in meal preparation. Outlined is the agenda for this particular challenge
- Plan on at least an hour to two hours of preparations, cooking, table setting, and cleaning up afterwards.
- Choose a simple meal that is a family favorite – one that is nutritional and healthy. One of our favorite meals that are easy to prepare is Burritos and soft tacos, Spanish rice, refried beans and salad.
- Once you have chosen your meal, gather the family together in the kitchen and hand out preparation assignments. Designate one or two people to set the table and then come in and help out where needed.
- At the table, have a topic of discussion. For this meal, the table topic should focus on the idea of setting aside one night a week for family time.
- Discuss that during family time there are no cell phones, ipads, ipods, laptops, television, or anything that would distract the family
- Choose one night for a family game night, the next week (and on the same night), a family service project, with the following week of the same night, a family outing or event.
- Parents, ask your children what they would like to get out of the family night and what ideas they would like to contribute.
- Inform all that the family night should consist of a minimum of an hour spending time with family. Watching television as a family is not a viable option.
- Also discuss how everyone’s day was, engage in conversation with one another. Parents, if you work and come home, ask your children what they did that day. This is the best time to catch up with one another. If it is just you and your spouse, catch up with one another, and discuss what types of things you can do as a couple on your specific family night.
- Commit to having family night every week on the same night. However, giving allowance for flexibility.
If you are not accustomed to sitting at the table, and there is resistance, still do what you can. As parents, when we start setting the example, and our children see that we are going through the effort to come together, they will most likely start coming aboard. We must understand that change is difficult to accept, especially when we are used to the present situation. Force should never be employed here, love and compassion works for the best.
Once you have accomplished this challenge, and you would like to share your insights, challenges, tips, suggestions, or comment, feel free to email Marysville Parenting Examiner or share by commenting to this article. Let us have fun and bring our families back to the table.