Dinner table

Dad and girl

Stay Connected - Have Dinner Together

Dinner time provides the moment of CONNECTION.  “Mealtime is often the only time in the whole day when everybody’s in the same room having a conversation”, says William Doherty, Ph.D., author of The Intentional Family (Addison Wesley Longman, 1997).

How do you make the most of this time together? 

  • Think of it as the way to “check in” and note how everyone is doing.
  • Keep problem solving for another time and place. If you note that someone needs some extra attention to an issue, have a private conversation after dinner.
  • Ask a non-threatening question that everyone gets to respond to. Find some great questions on the Tri City Partners website.
  • Listen:
    • Teens “process” their life through the “telling”. They literally have to talk  about where they are at, so they can move to the next stage of development. 
    • Be patient, and allow them to talk.
    • By simply listening, you are helping them grow and develop.
    • If teens see that we don’t listen to them, they will stop talking.
    • Force yourself to listen. If necessary, count to 100 before responding and avoid giving unwanted advice or lecturing
  • Tell everyone at the table how much you love them, adore them, admire them....etc!
  • Have a joke night, where everyone is encouraged to share a joke.
  • Have everyone help with preparation and cleanup. It’s important for all children to have meaningful roles and responsibilities in the family. These tasks prepare
    teens for independent living as young adults, and give them a sense of accomplishment.
  • Rituals and cultural traditions can be shared over dinner.

PDF of Toolkit