Dinner time is the worst. Ok, maybe bedtime trumps dinner time, but it’s a close second. In our house, dinner time always has some sort of stressor. The craziness has changed over the years, and I expect it will continue to. At first it was having a little one in a high chair constantly throwing food to the floor. Then it was the toddler who refused to stay in her chair while the older brothers fought or picked on each other. Eventually it morphed into terrible table manners and poor eating resulting in me yelling pretty much the whole way through dinner. Each night at least one child got sent to their room during dinner, only to return not having changed their behavior.
Some days, were a nightmare. 🤦♀️
I decided it had to change. I wanted to put a positive spin on the meal and allow the kids an outlet to talk about whatever it is that is making them so wild and wound up.
I came across the idea of a daily Rose and Thorn where the “rose” is the best part of the day and the “thorn” is the worst. It works by going around the table, starting with someone new each night, and allowing each family member to talk about what made them happy, glad, excited, or proud and what made them frustrated, unhappy, scared, sad or whatever else they have on their mind. I couldn’t believe it, but it was an extremely easy, and effective way of creating positive, engaging conversation around the dinner table. The kids loved it! They wanted to hear what each other had to say, and us as parents were learning a TON about what made our kids happy – and maybe more importantly, what made them stressed.
It has been several years at this point since we started this routine, and not a dinner meal has gone by where we have skipped it. It is as much of a part of the meal as the food is! The best part is, that because they are engaged in the conversation, they just eat. Gone are the days where I have to constantly ask them to take bites and finish their meals… they just EAT!
Recently, my middle son put a spin on it and started added a “coo-coo” which is the funniest thing that happened in their world. His sense of humor makes us laugh every day, making dinner time more tolerable, and even enjoyable.
Of course, table manners are still a work in progress, and my toddler occasionally tosses something over her shoulder if she doesn’t want to eat it, but we are no longer arguing or sending anyone away from the table. I had no idea that this would create such a difference but our family has become more grateful, happier, and more aware of each others feelings. It has truly been a game changer. 🙏
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