Dinner time at my house is usually stressful, and it has nothing to do with the food. It’s the people eating the food that make the stress levels high, myself included. For years now we have been pretty good at having regular family dinners, and by regular I mean about 3-5 per week, which I know is rare these days.
So I am proud of that.
What I’m not so proud of though is how many of these meals transpires.
As you know, I have three boys, and these boys are not exactly good with their manners. They put their fingers in their food, they talk with mouths full of food, they get up multiple times during the meal and thier conversation to each other is usually negative. And of course, I play a role too. I expect them to have decent manners but apparently my nitpicking isn’t getting the message through. I want to lean back and just let things go the way they are going to go but….
I. Just. Can’t. (I know I need to relax a little.)
So the other night, my wife comes up with a genius idea.
Every night at before dinner, one of the adults writes down a specific thing about the meal they are going to watch. For example, chewing with your mouth closed, not touching your food with your fingers and not farting loudly at the table. The kids have no idea what that specific thing is until after the meal.
The winner gets extra ChoreMonster points.
My first thought was that I didn’t think it would be that effective. But I have to say, after three nights of relatively pleasant dinners, I’m ready to endorse this approach. The sad part is that my oldest has been nearly perfect, but has been the biggest offender for years, yes, years. This proves he has just been lazy the whole time, but you know what, I don’t care.
A peaceful dinnertime is a good dinnertime. Give it a shot at your house and see how it works.