Dr. Kenney shares why a family should have a routine at dinner and what that could look like.
Dinner time family routines are really important because they actually set the stage for the pace and rhythm of your whole life. See dinner time is the one time when you get to get together and hang out and talk about how the day went. You get to share your meal and nourish your body. So if you really help your children get some rhythm and routine around dinner time where you join together as a family, that’s going to actually improve their functioning throughout the whole day.
So let’s think about the lessons learned by creating some sort of dinner-time routine. Your children learn to gather together. They learn to converse and ask questions of one another, “How did your day go?” They learn to tell stories and they learn to eat and share a meal nourishing their bodies and their minds altogether as a family.
When developing routine it’s really important to create a beginning, a middle and an end. So how about this for your dinner-time routine – consider having a bell or something that makes some noise, a tambourine and have one of the children each day of the week ring the bell in order to be a signal that dinner is started. You sit down. That’s the beginning of the meal. You talk. You converse. You eat. That’s the middle of the meal, and then you teach your children important chores, respect and responsibility by saying at the end of the meal, “Where do we take our plates?”
So if you really create routine around the dinner-time meal that has a clear beginning, middle and an end, with clear tasks in the beginning, middle and the end, you are going to be developing terrific social animals.
About Dr. Lynne Kenney, Psy.D.:
Lynne Kenney, Psy.D., is a mother of two, a practicing pediatric psychologist in Scottsdale, AZ, and the author of The Family Coach Method (St Lynn’s Press, Sept 2009). She has advanced fellowship training in forensic psychology and developmental pediatric psychology from Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School and Harbor-UCLA/UCLA Medical School. Dr. Kenney is currently a featured expert for Momtastic.com and Parentsask.com.