HOW TO TRULY CONNECT WITH YOUR FAMILY AT DINNER


family-dinner-together
At Best Friends For Frosting, we are all about in-the-moment living. It’s so important to stay focused and be present with whatever you’re doing. But let’s face it, sometimes we all get so busy with the hustle and bustle of everyday life. With meetings, school, work, activities, and fun, sometimes it feels like the whole family is going non-stop at full speed.
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We’re on a mission to create awareness of disengaged families and the need for more conversation. We want to support people in their pursuit of more meaningful connections during mealtimes. We think mealtime is together time, and we want to draw attention to the social bonds created during this time. We believe that together, we can create deeper connections between people. We know it’s hard to pull away from a busy lifestyle, but we have no doubt that families grow closer when they connect through mealtime.  
family-dinner It’s so important to stop during the day to focus on what truly matters. I am not talking about surface conversation, but a real conversation, truly connecting with one another. There’s nothing better than sharing news, laughs, opinions, and so much more!  We’re thrilled to have teamed up with our friends at J.M. Smucker Company to join their Mealtime Movement. I am so excited to share my tips on how to engage with your family around the dinner table and to share a sneak peek of what happens behind the scenes at our family dinners in our home. Actually, the images from this post are extra special to me, as I am only 1 month away from having Baby Johnson #2. I cannot believe this is one of our last meals together as a family of 3! 
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Growing up, one of my personal favorite times of the day was dinner time. My parents ALWAYS made sure my family would eat around the table, focusing on family time and time to connect daily. When Andy and I started our family, we did the same thing. We made a golden rule that we would have dinner together every night as a family. We believe that by eating together as a family, we can create a deeper connection. It didn’t matter who was cooking or even if we were eating take-out, that’s always been our special time to connect. Some of our best conversations have happened at our dinner table, from announcements to sharing news and laughs and so much more. Sometimes, I even catch myself saving the best pieces of exciting news to announce at the table!
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No matter which way you slice it or dice it, the best gift you can give is your time. I am a firm believer that family meal time is essential for so many reasons. Engaged meals make all the difference in the world. Whether you’re married or have a growing family, it is never too late to start this fun daily routine.
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Here are my top favorite tips for connecting as a family around the dinner table:
1. Serve Dinner at the same time every night: Make a conscious effort to serve dinner around the same time every night. This consistency will establish the perfect routine for all the members of your family, ensuring that each person knows when they need to be home. It will also help you create a good routine so that you know how much time you need to meal prep in order to have it ready around the right time. For bonus quality time, enlist your family members for help in the kitchen! Give each person a job to get dinner together, whether it be chopping up ingredients or setting the table.
2. Stay Unplugged: Do not allow phones or television at the table. Turn those phones on silent or keep them in a different room. It is so important to be in the moment without distractions from the outside world.
3. Positive Conversation Only:  Make sure your dinner table is always thought of as a positive and happy place that is open for communication.  Positive energy at the table is an absolute must.  
4. Change up the location: Bend the rules and take dinner to a whole new location. Indoor picnics, picnics at the park, eat in the backyard, heck- even in the car. We often eat dessert in the living room to switch things up.
5. Create realistic meal expectations:  It’s easy to have high expectations and believe that you will cook from scratch every night, but don’t make more work for yourself than is necessary! Family dinner is not about how easy or challenging the meal itself is, but the importance of spending quality time together each night. Regardless of you spending four hours preparing a meal or picking up dinner on the way home, you will be connecting together as a family around the dinner table!
Starting a family has taught me so much about the importance of spending time together around the table. And now with Baby Johnson #2 just about here, I am even more excited to set aside time to truly grow as a family. What are some of your favorite ways to engage at the table?

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