Problem: Dinner time just doesn’t feel the same without both parents present. Somehow you feel ‘less of a family’.
Solution: Start new traditions that help you reconnect and enjoy one another.
* Erica changed the seating arrangements around her table so it didn’t feel like there was void where her former husband used to sit. Her 6 and 8 year old children each got a candle to light at the beginning of dinner and blow out at the end.
* Mark’s former wife used to be the one to lead dinnertime conversations. He started asking each child to choose a topic of discussion for the dinner table. If your children have trouble thinking of topics, consider making up a set of cards with conversational prompts “What is your favorite pet?” “Should children have to go to school?” that your children can choose from. You can also purchase a set of conversation starters at a game store: “Table Topics” and “Tabletalk Conversation Starters” are two examples.
* You can make meal time special by asking every child to ‘give a toast’ to a family member who did something nice that day. Or each family member can say one thing that was good about the day. Encouraging family members to remember their blessings and appreciate one another helps remind everyone of the value of family.
* Consider starting or adding to a tradition of saying ‘grace’. You can start with a moment of quiet as everyone clears his or her mind of the clutter of the day and focuses on time together. Then say ‘grace’ or something as simple as “We are grateful to have this time together.”