Make each meal one of appreciation and gratitude
Approaching family mealtimes with a sense of mindfulness is a great way to make them more special. Mindfulness around the table can help your family be more grateful for the time you share.
Bring a little extra connection, tranquility, and meaning to the table with these practical tips.
Brighten Your Breakfast With Morning Reflections
The morning meal provides opportunities to build mindful family traditions. You might start by sharing your intentions for the day while prepping breakfast, or by appreciating the moment once everyone’s seated.
Or just try taking a few deep breaths together before things get busy.
Your attitude and intention are key.
Eating together can be a mindful moment, even if you’re just noshing on fruit, crackers, or nuts during your toddler’s snack time. For school-age children, an after-school conversation — over nibbles, of course — provides a similar chance to check-in and bond.
Once you’ve committed to bringing more mindfulness into your family’s mealtimes, you’ll find that chances to practice it abound.
When the mood is right, when the moment is right, kids will open up and share. Aim for authentic conversations. Enjoy the flow. Remember, mealtimes are all about presence and connection.
Tip: Take a moment to close your eyes together and encourage the kids to notice the details of what you’re experiencing. How does this food smell? How does your body feel while you’re eating it? What kinds of sounds does chewing it make? What does it feel like — crunchy? Squishy? What’s it look like?
Sitting down together at the dinner table can be a key element of your family’s mealtime mindfulness practice.
It has other benefits, too. Studies show that children whose families regularly eat dinner together benefit in many ways, from improved eating habits and healthier mental and emotional wellbeing.
There is a lot of research on the lasting effects of families eating together at least a few times per week, it anchors the family experience in our fast-paced world. It allows children to feel safe and grounded.
Mixing some mindfulness in with your mealtime routine will boost those feelings by creating a special atmosphere.
Announce dinner time by ringing a bell, for example, or lighting a candle to create a cozy mood, don’t wait for special occasions to use fancy china, eat in your formal dining room or drink from crystal glasses. Make ordinary moments special.
Tip: Try to fill the entire meal with a sense of appreciation and gratitude.
You can do this by saying something like "For the next 10 minutes let’s eat our food slowly and pay attention to
how it tastes."
That sort of close attention is where appreciation starts.
Whether it’s doing the dishes, sweeping the floor or folding the laundry, chores present an ideal opportunity to bring mindfulness into day-to-day life. In fact, most meditation retreats encourage students to continue their practice through such tasks, outside of formal sitting hours.
Pay attention to: Whatever your hands are doing. If you’re washing dishes, notice the temperature of the water, the texture of the plates, and the motion of your hands scrubbing. If you’re folding laundry, feel the different fabrics. While sweeping, notice the movement of your arms, the stretch and extension, and perhaps even an aching as time goes by. While washing produce, notice the feel of it, colors, consider where it came from, how many hands were involved in getting it to your home and table.