Self Improvement

5 Ways to Increase Connection at Family Dinner

Once a year, my family and I spend a weekend on a working farm. It is our time to unplug, refresh and rejuvenate. Each time I leave with fresh insight and a deeper awareness for the power of emotional connection. I have learned that creating time for emotional flow not only relieves you and your family members from stress and anxiety but also increases your resiliency from having it in the first place.

After returning home, I wondered how could we maintain this feeling and the three words that kept repeating themselves in my mind were: the dinner table. So I wrote down what I learned from the farm table and how it could be replicated in everyday life.

5 ways to increase connection at your next family dinner:

  1. Clean Off The Clutter

    I don’t know about you but sometimes my dinner table is also the place where I dump my clean laundry. While I might still use the space for folding, I am less apt to let this job linger or I might put it in a basket off the table. After all who is going to sit at a table with underwear on it.

  2. Set a Regular Dinner Time

    Now I know this can be difficult if your family members, like mine are running in different directions. However, if you set a consistent dinner time, at least once a week, you will increase the likelihood of people showing up at the table.

  3. Put Your Drinks Down First

    When my kids see a cold glass of water on the table they are naturally drawn to it and begin to gather around. At the farm they offered spice cider which worked too!

  4. Quit Interrupting

    What I realized at the farm table is I was less likely to check in with everyone. For example, usually I might pause a dinner conversation to ask someone if they wanted more salad. But the farm taught us to pass food around family style. Family style allows the conversation to keep going.

  5. Listen

    At home, eating family meals is part of our daily routine. But at the farm we gathered around the table for connection. One of the ways we did that was to really listen to what was going on with each others lives. With the older girls my husband and I asked them if there was anything they needed in terms of support from us. Asking this question, seemed to open the doorways for conversation and communication. In the end, we learned the girls just needed an opportunity to feel heard, valued and connected.

My hope is you too realize the food is a way to get people to the table so they can nourish not only their bodies but also their hearts.


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