How Parents Can Maximize Family Dinner Time

One of the best times parents can invest in and disciple their children is at dinner time.

The first way parents can maximize dinner time is to actually sit down together for dinner.

In a day when families are very busy and rushing from one activity to another, one sport to another, one karate lesson to another, it can be challenging to sit down together as a family for dinner.

Parents have to be intentional about sitting down with their children and eating dinner together.  Going through the drive-thru and eating in the car together on the way to a game is not what we are referring to.  To maximize the time, families need to be sitting together at home around the dinner table.  For many families, it's the only time everyone is in the same room at the same time, so seize the opportunity.

Here are some tips to pass along to the parents in your church.

A goal should be to get everyone talking.  Ask the children questions like these:

What was the best part of your day?

What was the most challenging part of your day?

What movie do you want to see?

What video game is your favorite?

How is school going?   

It's also important for the kids to see dad and mom interacting with each other and sharing about their day.  Parents must lead by example.

Make it fun.  Let Friday or Saturday night be pizza night or taco night or special dessert night.  Let kids decide what they'd like to have for dinner on these nights.

Put away the phones.  The average parent only looks into the eyes of his or her child about 15 seconds a day.  Dinner time is one if the best opportunities to put down the phones and have heart-to-heart interactions.  Our phones are an important part of our lives.  It's like they are an extension of us.   Don't think so?  Try going a day without knowing where your phone is.  That would cause some major anxiety for most people. 

When you put down your phones during dinner time, it shows the members of your family that they are more important than what's going on with your phone.

Disciple your children.  This is a good time to go over a take home paper or other discipleship tools from the past weekend.  Read a Bible verse and talk about it.  Let kids ask any questions they may have about the Bible and the lesson. 

Pray together.  I remember when I was a child, my parents had a small box that was full of missionary prayer cards.  At the end of each meal, we would pull out one of those cards and pray together for the missionary.  That time of prayer impacting me then and still does to this day.

Obviously you want to pray and thank God for the food He has provided.  But you should also close the dinner time with prayer.  Keep a list of prayer requests.  Pray over the list and share praise reports of answered prayer.

Share these tips with the families in your ministry.  Our goal is to equip parents so they in return can disciple and equip their children.  Dinner time is a key time when parents can invest in their children and grow together as a family.