How to Have the Best 10 Minutes of Your Day With Your Family

I get it.

I know just how hard it is to get dinner on the table and five people around it who are all going five different directions at five o’clock.

Mondays my oldest has church youth group and Tuesdays my son has after school honor band practice and Wednesdays we meet with other families for Bible Study and Thursdays, we have dental and eye appointments or –well, you get my point. Some days the window for all of us to be together is so small, it would be easier to just eat on the go or at least separately.

And other days when we have long moments to linger –that’s when the big kids irritate each other until an argument erupts and the youngest is picky and cries in her dinner and we have a big fat mess spilled all over our good intentions.

I’m not saying it’s easy. It’s not.

But that doesn’t mean we stop trying.

Because this isn’t really about food.

It’s not about dinner at all. It’s about pursuing intentional, meaningful conversation that your children will never forget. It’s about building relationships and communicating purpose and goals. It’s about going deeper. It’s about breaking Real Bread together.

It’s about the best 10 minutes of your day.

how to have the best 10 minutes with your family

Practical Ideas to Make it Happen:

  • Plan a weekly crockpot meal so you aren’t overwhelmed once you get everyone at the table.
  • Keep a large family calendar in the kitchen and make sure at least 3 nights a week are free (even if it’s different every week.)
  • Keep a basket of Bibles near the table. Read them together.
  • Make the window of time interactive: My new ebook Saying Yes to God As a Family: 30 Lessons for the Table from Rhinestone Jesus was created just for this precious 10 minute window. Each short  lesson has a suggested Bible passage and 3 questions to promote interaction and deeper-thinking. (It’s totally free right now when you buy my book -offer expires April 30).
  • Have fun. Painting our kitchen table with chalkboard paint was one of our best decisions to keep our kids around the table longer. Printing out paper placemats for drawing will also keep little hands busy (there are ones included in my ebook). Celebrate great nights together with ice cream!
  • Keep it short. Because kids.
  • Don’t get discouraged. Some nights I want to go straight to bed after dinner because it’s THAT BAD. But we do it all over again the next day. It’s worth it. Don’t give up! Make #sayyesinmymess your mantra.

When we persevere through the mess and stick a yes in it, we discover beautiful moments together, sometimes sandwiched between really bad ones. (That’s life, huh?) If we choose to be intentional, we have the opportunity to connect on a deeper level. We uncover glorious tidbits that carry us through the hard days. We giggle and laugh. We hear about one another’s day and learn more about each other.

We often find the best 10 minutes of our day when we look for them.

Comments

  1. 1

    Karen says

    During baseball season with 3 boys, we used to have after bath/before bed snack time. Everyone gathered in the kitchen eating a bowl of “goodness” and decompressing for a few minutes!

  2. 4

    Anna says

    I love the chalkboard table idea!!! Do you have a problem with oil based foods getting on the table and staining it?? And after having it for so long… any tips???

  3. 5

    says

    Love your tips and you are exactly right! It’s so hard…but so worth it! Years ago, I read a book by Ruth Bell Graham. She talked about the family devotions around their table after dinner…what a struggle it was and how at least two kids were in a fight and one was in tears nearly every night. (ooooo…sign me up. NOT). I figured if BILLY GRAHAM’s kids were fighting at the table, the rest of us have no hope, right? But in her book, she said that YEARS later, when the kids were grown, they were reminiscing about some of their favorite family times…and they all said sitting around the table, having the family devos…was one of their favorite memories. So, I agree with you…we all need to HANG IN THERE.

  4. 6

    Amanda says

    I went to a parenting conference you spoke at in Michigan a year ago and ever since we have been doing “highs and lows.” Thanks for the idea! My kids are only 3 and 5 and I am sad when there is a night we can’t eat together.

  5. 8

    says

    Really great post and absolutely true. Our sons are now 25 and 20, and they still enjoy having dinner with us 2 or 3 times a week. One thing that worked for us, especially when they were in ages or stages where things turned easily into arguments or fights, was to bring jokes, riddles, word games, brain teasers or funny stories to the table. My husband and I would collect those kinds of things as we came across them, and bring some out at dinner.

  6. 9

    says

    I use the Once A Month Meals freezer cooking plan. It’s really helped us to sit down to a meal and not be trying to figure out what to eat or have time cooking. Plus it’s really helped with our budget, much less expensive. Gives us more time to play a game or do homework before dinner.

  7. 10

    says

    Thank you for these great suggestions! I need to work on being more intentional about conversation at the table. Seems like lately the family just rushes through eating and there is no real discussion going on at all.

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