7 Ways To Get Your Family Around The Table
Television has become a staple of the average Australian household.
You walk into a friend’s place, you’re bound to see a television in (at least) one of the rooms. You probably have your own television. You probably spend ‘family time’ around it.
The problem with the television is that it has a tendency to divide rather than bring people together.
Individuals sit in front of the tube for hours on end, zoning out, neglecting the people they love – the ones who might be sitting right next to them – in favour of playing games, eating, talking, and catching up on what’s been happening in each others’ lives.
We say it’s time to Reject the Age of Television!
Instead of watching TV, consider re-establishing contact with your family. Sound tough? Here are ten ways to turn off the TV and get the family sitting around the dinner table.
What’s not outside? The TV!
So, where should you go when you want to get the kids away from the TV room and back into a conversation? Outside!
Play croquet or cricket Take the dog for a walk. Don’t have a dog? Get a dog, then take it for a walk. If it’s summer, stay up late and chat in the warm evening. Read books together. Lay out a picnic blanket and do puzzles. Paint your toenails.
The possibilities are endless.
Try a new recipe.
Are you the designated cook in the family? Can you cope with letting go of some of your kitchen autonomy?
One way you can get the family around the dinner table is by trying something new. Experiment with a new recipe and bring the family to the table to try it. OR experiment with a new recipe together!
Do this a couple of times a week and you’ll soon notice that the joy of experimenting and working to make your family happy is much more fulfilling than eating the same-old-same-old and watching reruns.
Show the kids how to use the BBQ! What’s the worst that can happen? Burnt snags? You can always make a large salad just in case. Maybe buy some really good ice cream to keep the family around the dinner table in case salad’s all you end up with for dinner that night!
Get those kids outside with Dad and the tongs and put them in charge. You can sit on the daybed and read a magazine.
Wer’e so incredibly fortunate in most parts of Australia that it’s temperate for most of the year in the evenings.
During the warmer months, turn off the TV and eat outside on your patio.
Spending time in nature is vastly more productive than spending time on the couch. Just to give you an example, our society was built by people who spent their whole lives in nature. When was the last time you heard a success story that started with “So the real key to success is sitting in front of a television for at least two hours a day”?
Invite your family to join you around the dinner table and have a conversation. Ask about how each other is doing, feeling, what they’re planning.
Build a veggie patch.
Get outside, get your hands dirty, and feel the intense pleasure of growing your own food.
Don’t have land? No problems. Invest in a planter and get the kids growing and cooking veggies and herbs.
… or Scrabble or Charades or whatever makes your family laugh at each other. Grab a bottle of wine, pull the patio chairs together, get the family around the dinner table and eat cheese and giggle until your sides hurt.
Upgrade your quality of life.
Some will say that they’re so busy, the only time they have together is when they’re watching television.
Between work, school, soccer practice, band, yoga, and company dinners, many families find that their time together is limited – and that they only have half an hour to an hour together. Doesn’t that mean that television is a good thing?
No, not necessarily. People live busy lives, sure. But the television is not the reason they’re able to spend time together; they’re able to spend time together because their respective schedules allow it, and they choose to spend that time watching television.
If your time with your family is limited, do you want to spend it going glossy-eyed in front of the boob tube?
If family time is a rarity, you want to maximise the quality of the time. And simply put, time in front of the TV isn’t maximum quality. Maximum quality is time spend engaging in genuine human interaction – talking, laughing, and enjoying yourselves with the ones you love, without having the distraction of the TV.
If your time with your family is limited, consider spending that time doing something other than watching TV.
Sit out on the patio and enjoy the night air. Play that board game.
You’ll quickly discover that TV – which seemed like it was something you couldn’t live without – is easy to walk away from and once you do, you’ll be happy you did.