There are studies that say that families that have dinner together are more successful in terms of keeping up with their children’s lives and making sure they identify social issues at school or personally compared to families that do not dine together regularly. However, as we all know, in this very digital world we live in, mealtimes can often be filled with distractions.
I recall one Thanksgiving at a family member’s house and I noticed that all the young teens and millennials sitting on various chairs in the family room were each engrossed on their phones.
Dixie, the leader in disposable tableware, has launched ”Deadzone Diners,” a campaign inspiring people to disconnect from their mobile devices and connect over a meal. The initiative will transform the negative perception of cellular dead zones into unique opportunities for people to “Be More Here.” To help families better connect over the dinner table, the company had a created a set of tips to help them create their own “Deadzone Diners” and foster conversation and interaction.
It offers these 6 tips for having your own “Deadzone” family dinners:
1. Put your phone away during mealtime. Establish a guideline that everyone must put their phones on airplane mode and leave them in another room. This will allow families to focus solely on having meaningful face-to-face conversation with the people around them.
2. Have dinner in unique location with no cell signal. Make dinner more fun, compelling and unique by finding a change of atmosphere. See if you can find a cellular dead zone to have a meal, such as your basement, a park or an isolated spot in the backyard. A change of scenery with “no bars” will encourage engaging conversation.
3. Come to the dinner table with one topic to discuss. Everyone in the family should come prepared with a conversation topic. It can be as simple as the best thing that happened to you that day. A shared meal is an important opportunity to have your family’s full attention to talk about the things that matter most.
4. Make sure everyone is involved. Make sure everyone at dinner has a role, whether it’s helping in the kitchen, setting the table or cleaning up. If everyone has a responsibility, it will limit the time they can spend on the phone and create a shared experience.
5. Try a new recipe, but keep it simple. Introducing a new recipe could be the start of great conversation. A home-made meal doesn’t have to take hours and it can be fun to prepare. Cooking will bring the family together, while avoiding the distraction of cell phones.
Good luck, parents!