How to make family dinner the center of the day?

Dinner time is a stressful time for most families. Kids are tired. Mom is tired. Dad just got home (if you’re lucky), and everyone is hungry and cranky.

So I thought it was interesting that in this weekend’s LDS General Conference, Elder L. Whitney Clayton said how precious this dinner hour should be. He said that for couples in happy marriages, “Their dinner hour and the family time that follows become the center of their day and the object of their best efforts.”

I want to give my family my best effort, but that’s easier said than done. Most nights are filled with hurried dinners and rushed bedtime routines. Somehow the time just always runs out along with my patience at the end of the day.

Despite my “best efforts,” I often go to bed at night feeling like I could have done better or that the day didn’t end the way I wanted. We forgot scripture study. I snapped at a kid. Dinner was full of discipline lessons rather than meaningful talk.

I have been making an effort to have a one-on-one quiet moment with each of my daughters before their day comes to a close. Usually I sing and stroke hair. So far, it’s been an effective way to erase some of the chaos and imperfection of the dinner hour.

But I’d like to do more to make our home a peaceful place where evenings run smoothly and my kids know that those few hours between dinner and bedtime are the most important of my day.

What do you do in your home as an evening routine? Any advice for making evening family time the center of our days and the object of our best efforts?

One comment

  1. Momof7

    I love dinner time with my family. We have made that a priority for our family. One of the things we do during dinner that my children all love is what we refer to as question time. They each get to pick their topic. Topics can range anywhere from would you rather to calculus. One of our more memorable answers came to a would you rather question. I asked my 6 year old if he would rather be a garbage man or a someone who builds cabinets. My 13 year old quickly piped up: I’d rather be a cabinet maker because then I’d be the President.

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