If there’s one thing that’s taken seriously in our household it’s mealtimes. I put a lot of effort into planning our meals and both my husband and I work hard to prepare food, so coming together at the end of each day is a really important time for us all to connect and check in with one another.
But it’s not always a pretty picture…there’s “party spillage” as my kids call it, loud voices, mass exoduses from the table to do some sort of physical comedy, tamper tantrums and refusals to eat certain foods (usually of the vegetable or protein persuasion.)
In an attempt to thwart unwanted mealtime behavior, I’ve come up with the Grub Gab Jar.
To make it, I’ve simply taken an old popcorn kernel jar, removed the label and using Etch-all glass etching and some Silhouette Vinyl, I etched on the words Grub Gab:
To see how to work with glass etching, click here. It's really easy!
Then I printed out a myriad of possible dinner time conversation starters that I culled from both the Internet an my own imagination:
I cut them out individually and then folded them up. When things start to heat up at dinner, the kids can just grab one to get us going.
I also ripped out a few interesting items from magazines or newspapers I came across that I thought would be of interest to the kids. (explanations of why you can't tickle yourself and things like that.)
Talking around the table in our family serves many functions: it allows the kids to express themselves, it teaches them the art of conversation the give and take of listening versus talking) it distracts them from the foods in front of them that they might not be so enthused about eating, it keeps them physically and mentally at the table, it avoids conflict between siblings who will find something to argue about if left to their own devices.
And Mr. P. can practice his reading!!! Bonus!
The idea is to get more than a yes or no answer and to have the question morph into a table conversation that really can lead anywhere…this is just the springboard. (i.e. the same question asked on a different day would lead to an entirely different conversation.)
If your interested in further reading on the topic, here’s a great New York Times article on the importance of table conversation.