We all have to stop and eat, and if we use these meal times wisely, we can strengthen our families and connect with our kids. Learn about 6 productive things to do during meals that will make your family life that much stronger.

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Sometimes, the idea of stopping to eat is overwhelming for me. It feels like such a waste of time. I’m eating–nourishing my body and giving it the energy it needs to get through the day, and I think I’m wasting time? Crazy talk, right 😂? But I’m a do-er, so pausing to eat is really tough for me.

Because of this, I’ve learned to utilize mealtimes wisely. And for me, mealtimes mean family. So I’ve found ways to use mealtimes to really connect with those I love.

Here are some of my favorites:

Affirmations

Every morning while my kids eat breakfast before school, we say affirmations. I say a phrase like, “I am kind,” and they repeat it. Other ideas:

  • I am smart.
  • I am strong.
  • I am brave.
  • I am a friend to everyone.
  • I am creative.
  • I am a child of God.
  • I am loved.
  • I am enough.

I like to end with them each saying one or two of their own. It’s so fun to hear what they come up with and to see their confidence grow. I now sometimes catch my three-year-old repeating uplifting phrases to herself throughout the day and it makes my heart so happy ❤️️!

Reading

After we say affirmations, I read a chapter from a chapter book out loud to them. This allows us to always be reading a book together, but frees up time at night when we have so many other things going on.

Brush Hair

While I read aloud to my kids, my husband does their hair. So it’s breakfast + hair + reading all at the same time! This isn’t really connection based, but it saves a few minutes of time. Plus, the kids are occupied with their food and listening to the book, so they don’t put up a fight about getting their hair done. It’s a triple win! Side note: we also store our hair stuff in the kitchen since that’s where we use it.

Would You Rather or Silly Questions

This is a great thing to do to get kids talking, especially those who are reluctant to talk otherwise. Maybe get a would you rather book or print off some questions from Pinterest and put them in a jar to pull out here and there. This is a great activity for after school snack and opens the door to discussion!

Family Council

We hold our family meetings on Sunday mornings during breakfast. This gives our kids something to do with their hands and mouths while we discuss, so they’re less likely to complain, run away, or be disruptive during this important family bonding time.

Talk About Our Day

At dinner, we like to play a game called, “THIS is My Day.” We go around the table and each person has a chance to talk about four things:

Thankful: one thing they’re grateful for.

Happy: something that made them happy (we try to gear this toward something they did that they’re proud of–getting that self-love in–but it can be anything).

I learned: something new they learned–be it a skill, a fact, or a lesson.

Service: something they did that was kind or something done for them that was kind. Even something they witnessed that was kind!

This focuses on 4 things we believe in as a family: gratitude, focusing on the good–even in ourselves, personal growth, and kindness.

Eating with Intention

We love to use meals as a time to really connect as a family. Everyone has to eat, and by being intentional with this time, we’re building greater bonds and improving our lives.

What do you do during meals?

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