Anyone else’s roses in bloom? It’s spring, and as days get longer we experience the perfect time for al fresco meals—and that idea needn’t just extend to grand family dinners where your kids must exhibit perfect manners. Family dinners have actually always been slightly intimidating to me, and I’ve always slinked away from the judgmental moms who ask with disdain why we are at the park eating takeout and NOT HAVING A FAMILY DINNER at the table. So, if dinners are difficult, you can imagine how breakfast suffers.
I’ve always felt tremendous pressure regarding family meals. My husband’s experience as a child was much different to mine, and I know sharing ideas and thoughts during meals were critical to his family. In order to seek a happy medium and get myself to the point where I feel less pressure, I’m starting small. The bright sunshine of spring mornings has inspired me to create a fun, engaging and happy breakfast table. The kids will help with the crafty decor, and together we will figure out a way to make it easier for me to have some really meaningful conversations without leading with ‘how was your day?’
A Summer Breakfast Strategy
I wanted to create a cool, inexpensive summer breakfast plan using readily available craft items and cheerful plastic dishes. After painting terracotta pots in yellow with blue and mauve accents, the astroturf table runner was rolled out and flowers arranged. Our patio table is surrounded by roses, and the kids and I made pipe cleaner daisies to add a touch of whimsy.
Décor is key, but I wanted our special breakfast to provide a chance to bond. We cut out multicolored cardboard rectangles and pasted each of our 36 dinner table questions onto these vibrant cards. Each person was given 4 questions to ask others. Somehow, between our freshly squeezed orange juice and assorted vases filled with cereal, magic happened.
I actually got a bit emotional as they shared and we bonded. Questions like ‘Do you think our family discipline is fair?’ or ‘If you could talk to your whole school for 30 seconds, what would you say’ triggered epic discussions, and we lingered around the table because the kids kept wanting more and more questions. The pipe cleaners were fun distractions when an answer was difficult, and in the end we decided to have a special weekend breakfast with questions and breakfasts throughout the summer.
From now on, I am going to attempt to relax my angst about stuffy family dinners. I’m aiming for at least four meals together per week, and in time I know I’ll get more comfortable with a proper evening meal.