I recently taught a mom and dad a simple but powerful tool: eating using the family meal style. It was wonderful to hear that after two weeks, they had made eating family meal style a regular experience in their household. Before I go into a more detailed description, there were two comments that came from these parents that delighted my heart:
- The 6 year old’s prayer at dinner “Thank you God that we now say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ at the dinner table.”
- The father shared, that he noticed their 14 year old stayed longer at the table and talked with everyone. He said, “That alone, is worth doing more dishes.”
What is family meal style?
- Shared control. Kids naturally feel more in control when they get to choose. This goes for food as well.
- Modeling. When we say “Please pass…” and “Thank you” kids learn that skill!
- Deeper emotional connection. Eye contact is exchanged when you pass the food.
- Mom gets to eat with the family. I have heard so many times how the mother is serving from the stove the entire meal. One mom told me she could not remember that last time she ate her food hot. Yikes, not only is hot food great, so is sending the message that MOM IS NOT THE SERVANT.