5 Tips for Creating a Family Table at Meal Time

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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Barilla, but opinions are my own.

5 Tips for Creating a Family Table at Meal Time

When my son was a toddler I thought he was the pickiest eater. Then I started to realize that he wasn’t picky, he was just a kid. So I started to focus more on creating a family table at meal time and truly allowing him (and now my daughter) to experience food differently.

With the changes we’ve put in place I not only have kids who eat dinner, even if it’s just one part of dinner, we also now have a place to sit and talk about our day as a family. Mealtime now sometimes leads to playtime afterwards when the conversation doesn’t stop and the kids request either a game or movie night after we eat.

By eating at home, around a table, we’ve come to realize the importance of meal time and creating a family table.

Creating a Family Table barilla whole grain pasta

Feeding America is the nation’s largest organization dedicated to fighting domestic hunger through a network of food banks, and Barilla supports that goal.

Although many families make time to eat together, mealtime is more disjointed than ever. Seventy-six percent of people say dinner is the most important way to connect the family. Yet one in four families say they feel like disconnected individuals living under one roof.

Sitting down for family dinners 5 out of 7 nights during the week is important for me but it’s not just sitting down as a family. My family uses time around the dinner table to connect, learn and grow.

Sharing the table with my family during mealtimes is an important and meaningful part of how our family connects. It’s a time for my husband – who works away from the home – to interact with my kids and hear about their days. It’s also a time where we can discuss family events, upcoming holidays, and every day chit cat.

Creating a Family Table Barilla pasta and salad

5 Tips for Creating a Family Table at Meal Time

1. Don’t just start at the table; begin in the kitchen – My kids help me prepare dinner most nights. Whether it’s helping throw ingredients in a pot, chopping up vegetables, or setting the table, I try and get the kids involved in the process of making meals to allow for more opportunities to talk and grow.

2. Eat family style – instead of having plates already loaded and ready to go, serve each meal family style and let your kids choose what they put on their plates. You’ll find that this may spark conversation about the food their eating, where it came from, and many other questions (especially if you have a inquisitive 3 year old).

3. Begin the discussion – start your meal off with some way to open up discussion. Whether it be sharing the best part about your day, what you’re looking forward to the next day, or simply what you’re thankful for, you can start up great conversations by asking simple questions during mealtime.

4. No one leaves until everyone is finished – I’ve found my kids trying to race off away from the table after a meal because they were finished. But we’ve now instated a rule that no one leaves the dinner table unless everyone is done eating. We’ve been able to keep the conversation going and really have time to connect after the kids are done eating by doing this.

5. Continue the family time – After dinner we try and keep the kids away from asking to turn on the TV. So we get them involved in helping clean up after meal time and then play games, take family walks, and play together. Sometimes we do enjoy dinner and a movie with the kids on the weekends, but most weeknights we turn the tube off.

Creating a Family Table with kids enjoying dinner

Share what happens when you connect with your family with #ShareTheTable. For every post using #ShareTheTable, Barilla will help provide the monetary equivalent of ten meals ($1.11) to Feeding America, up to one million meals.

One dollar helps provide 9 meals secured by Feeding America on behalf of local member food banks. Valid through 4/30/14. For mealtime inspiration visit SharetheTable.com – view the video and learn how you can start sharing the table.

Creating a Family Table at Meal Time with Barilla

How do you create a family table?

Share your story using #ShareTheTable and help raise money for Feeding America.

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Barilla. For every post using #ShareTheTable from now until 4/30/14, Barilla will donate a monetary equivalent of ten meals ($1.11) to Feeding America®, up to 1 million meals. Barilla will donate a maximum of $110,000.  One dollar helps provide 9 meals secured by Feeding America® on behalf of local member food banks.

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  1. Love the idea, I’m a Barilla girl all the way!

  2. We have a non-traditional family schedule during the week because of my husband’s work hours. But for Sunday dinner, we do our best to eat a meal together.

  3. I LOVE to get help from the kids in the kitchen! My girls are now in their teens and should be helping out, anyway! I love to share my recipes with them…just wish they wanted to more often! lol

  4. Great tips. Having dinner at the table together is one of the most important things I think you can do with your kids.

  5. Fabulous list! I never understood how much my meals would change after having kids. Meal time really is about sharing and connecting. Not just the food on the plate.


  1. […] is the fact that i get a chance to reconnect and check in with my family after our busy day.  The family table we’ve created has helped us connect more as a family and truly enjoy each meal […]

  2. […] and sit down together during the day – something that doesn’t happen often.  The family table we’ve created at dinnertime has helped us connect more as a family and truly enjoy each meals together but […]

  3. […] Dinner time in our home is family time. And it doesn’t just start when we sit at the table to eat. By getting the kids involved in making dinner with me, I can teach them little things in the kitchen that they can continue to learn as they get older. Whether its dumping in the ingredients into a bowl like my 15 month old, chopping up veggies like the older kids, or unloading the dishwasher like my husband, everyone has something to do when we get dinner ready. This gives us the opportunity to spend time with one another while we teach each other new things. You can find more tips for creating a family table at meal time here. […]

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