Motherhood · Mummy School · Parenting

Making Dinner Time Matter

The dinner table is an inviting place to enhance family affection, but not always an easy discipline to maintain. IMG_2093 There are many things vying for our attention and hoping to rob that moment of togetherness.When children enter into teenagehood and become busy with their own extra curricular work, or Mum and Dad are engaged with work, hobbies or pursuits, these special bonds over family meals may be at risk, but we must work hard to maintain enjoying family meals together. One of the major hurdles preventing meaningful family meals might be the lack of knowing how to create intimate conversations. In many families, there might be a silent awkwardness of being seated together but not present with one another. It takes grace, preparation, effort, energy, planning, creative skills and a happy heart to make dinnertime smooth, enjoyable and meaningful. But with a little bit of practice and a lot of grace, mealtime can be the best part of your day, something that you look forward to, and a time where even the youngest get excited about. Mealtimes with tiny tots can often time be anything than neat, but even with a lot of mess to clean up afterwards, the whole overtone of your time can still be “mostly” happy. 🙂 1501305_10205907599072039_257723206137323601_o My husband is terrific in leaving his burden at work and giving individualised attention to each child at dinner time. I am usually busy feeding bub and monitoring the eating habit of the older two, while at the same time training the littlest one to stay put, to exercise her culinary skill graciously and to sign, sign, sign. You get the picture, it’s not elegant 🙂 IMG_1867 But having children at different ages made me realise how important conversations around the dinner table have become. It is at dinnertime that they learn to express their opinions and to learn to do so congenially and intelligently. IMG_3740 To help us make the most of dinner time, which is usually the only time we get to sit together rather leisurely, we came up with a set of meal cards. IMG_2768 These first set of cards have travelled with us over various homes and around various companies 🙂 Having been through a family reflection trip, I decided to pull out some of the major themes we saw running through our lives last year. These themes have marked the goodness of God in our lives, which if they had not been documented, would have been easily lost and overlooked.  These mealtime cards have helped piece and trace together God’s fingerprints of love and faithfulness in a simple and efficient way. Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 5.15.40 pm These cards are fun and easy to make, reusable and durable and super handy. They incorporate everything I want to teach into mini, bite-sized measures! Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 5.16.38 pm Firstly, they contain mini bible studies that cater for discussions applicable for both children and adults. The scope is broad enough that you can tailor the discussions to your child’s level, but deep enough for frequent visits over the coming year. The topics are derived from either our personal bible study, something that we are currently learning or truths that we have shared with others and are now keen to pass on to our own children. The Word of God gets taught and His precepts hidden in all of our hearts. Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 5.16.19 pm Sometimes my personal study in the Word takes a backseat with so much activities going on throughout the day. These cards have become a way for me to revisit these truths,  remembering and not forgetting them, and passing them on, getting the whole family onto the same page, fostering parent and sibling unity. Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 5.18.08 pm Secondly, these cards help us to develop a family prayer life. Each card contains a photo of the person(s) we are praying for, and the different needs that might be triggered by the different personas shown through the pictures. Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 5.17.14 pm The pictures usually bring back fond memories of times shared together and help us remain connected to somebody else’s needs, even when we are apart. Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 5.17.34 pm These cards also contain specific themes (such as Prayer, Faith, Eternal Life, Assurances, Heaven, Holiness etc) accompanied by a key verse for family memorisation. Discussion and application questions are followed by prayer pointers, daily confession, or great quotes. Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 5.18.08 pm We found that these cards are great conversation starters to have even with non family members! These cards provide a focal point for these important conversations to occur that is both safe and non threatening, allowing us to address real-life issues that real people face in this real world. Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 5.17.43 pm Free printables are available for those interested and kindly share with our blogging family what activities work well towards enhancing your family mealtime! X

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