Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Family Meal Time

Many of us have heard over the years that one of the most important family times is meal time.

I couldn't agree more.

The problem is that in this day and age it is getting more and more difficult to manage the time part of this equation.

For a family of seven, 5 kids plus mom and pop, everyone has different engagements and different priorities. We span the age spectrum going from 9 to 50.

Breakfast is always hectic as everyone starts the day with a large disparity of energy, time awareness and occasional peskiness. It is always a rushed affair, with family members appearing and disappearing at different moments.

Lunch is just about impossible with the different school and work schedules. I never make it as my work is over 45 minutes away, and the rest glide in at intervals.

We do manage a few dinners together every month, but the quality family time is weak.

How to get round this.

We (as in all of us) have come up with a few alternatives that are fun and contribute to family bonding.

  • Once a week we have a family night. One of us acts as master of ceremonies, which means he or she can choose the menu, the conversation subjects as well as the after dinner activities. Usually a movie. We all get a chance to be in charge once every seven weeks and as we all have different favorite foods we learn to accept other family member's choices - which is very important in such a rowdy home.

  • Once a month we "the parents" take one of the children out for his or her night out. A meal at a restaurant, followed by skating, bowling or a movie. We therefore also manage to make that one child feel extra special.

  • Either Saturday or Sunday morning we have an extra special brunch. This is a new development which everyone wants to keep. Everybody, including the dogs and the cat (by the way we have a new white frog in the home), pitches in with cooking, setting the table, talking, laughing, dancing and playing. We are not doing so well yet with the cleaning up, but I am optimistic.

In short, family time, together time and specific time is quality time put to very good use.

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