10. It’s not a battleground; it’s a family table.
Again keep the goal in mind: you want to have enjoyable, consistent family time together around the table, not a nightly battle of wills. No one wants to be a part of that. Avoid hot topics, or using the dinner table as a time to criticize your kids, your partner or to“catch up” with nagging. Let them crow accomplishments or complain about teachers without correction and they will likely want to talk more.
If you have picky eaters and “eating food” is the hot topic, start the family meal plan with favorite foods and avoid talking about the food or counting bites. Serve small portions or have the kids serve themselves. There’s no “clean plate” club. Talk about other stuff, not the food. Once the meal becomes about something other than the food (i.e. it's about being together), it might be easier to introduce some new foods and experiences.
When the topic of the "family dinner table" comes up, many people remember their own family meals as children as being terrible. It can be hard to leave whatever baggage of your own childhood behind, but parenthood can be a great chance to do things differently. Brand your own family meal with the dynamic that suits you, your partner, and your kids. Have fun at your family table!
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