Here are a couple of suggestions to make dinner time count:
1. Eat together with your spouse and kids as often as possible.
2. Make a table rule: no books/magazines/devices
3. Don’t ask family members to report on their day (what they did, who they interacted with, etc.) but welcome any sharing that spontaneously happens. Share your own day if you want to.
4. Have an interesting topic to raise for discussion.
5. Avoid stressful topics, complaints and issues.
6. Reward appropriate behaviors with your focused attention; as much as possible, look away from inappropriate behaviors. When you MUST correct something, do so quietly and firmly.
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Do you sometimes find yourself asking your kids questions even though you know the answer?
* Did you just throw your coat on the floor?
* Is your room still a mess?
* Did you leave your math homework at school again?
Asking kids questions that you both know the answer to is not an effective way of teaching them. It shames children and does not help with a positive outcome. I sometimes wonder how I would feel if my spouse came home and said:
* Is the laundry still on the floor unfolded?
* Are we having chicken and potatoes for supper again?
* Are you wearing socks with a hole?
Parenting children is the hardest job in the world. There are no easy answers or formulas to find the perfect thing to say all of the time. Try to keep in mind that shaming is destructive to children. If you think that what you are about to say may shame your child, I believe you are better off saying nothing at all.