In this fast-paced society, we are often running from one activity to the next stopping at the drive-thru just to satisfy the hungry mouths of the kids in the mini-van. It can be challenging to make the dinner table an important part of family life, but we should not forget the value of breaking bread and sitting together as a family.
So, in the midst of being busy and productive women, how can we prioritize gathering at the table? Here are a few of my tips for keeping table time a priority in your family:
1. Plan one meal each day with the whole family
Life truly is busy! Perhaps dinner may not be the best meal to gather if your husband works late or you have teenage children involved in activities. Breakfast can be a wonderful time to gather and a great chance to employ some overnight oats or egg bake for the next morning! Just choose a meal that works for your lifestyle and stick with it.
2. Keep family time around the table
Great discussions can be had around the table. It may take time to create the habit, but it is a sweet time to disconnect from other distractions and be in fellowship with one another. After dinner and before clearing dishes away, our family has started employing a liturgy where we read the Bible together, discuss what we read and then sing a few songs or hymns. You may want to work through a classic novel or favorite book series as food is digesting.
3. Meal Plan for the week ahead
This isn’t always the easiest for me, but when I do meal plan I find that I buy only what I need for the week and I actually want to cook the food on my list. Schedule out 30 minutes to meal plan for the week ahead (Sunday night or Monday morning) and try following your plan exactly. Without a plan, it is easy to order pizza or run to grab fast-food. Save money and time by planning your weekly meals!
4. Do not over-schedule around meals
If you have 10 things left on your list and dinner is an hour away, you probably will not get it all done and dinner will be frantic, disorganized and likely come late to the table. Simplify your schedule if possible and leave adequate time to cook a meal. If this is not possible, employ the Instant Pot, Crockpot, or use freezer meals.
5. Communicate with your family/friends
Wives, talk to your husbands about prioritizing one meal a day with the whole family. You may have to undo past habits as a family in order to implement this new one. That’s okay, just keep checking in and work towards consistency! If you are single, but have a roommate, check their schedule and at the least, plan to do a meal once or twice a week. Even scheduling to sit down to a delicious meal with a friend on occasion can be refreshing after a long day.
6. Make the table look beautiful
It is always more inviting to sit down to a beautiful table. Fresh flowers or a candle as a centerpiece can be a great start. I love to run my Young Living diffuser with an inviting scent near our table for 10 minutes before food is served. If you need inspiration, I recommend Edith Schaeffer’s The Hidden Art of Homemaking. She devotes an entire chapter to flower/table arrangements. The entire book is a wonderful read!
This list is by no means exhaustive! Prioritize time around the table and create a family culture that flourishes while the busyness of the day fades away. Begin giving your home a resting place each day where hearts are gladdened and bellies are filled.