I am all about making a difference in your home, even before making a difference in your community and the world. For my family, dinnertime has become a vital part of our routine to stay connected. But it was a long road for me to learn how to stay sane during dinnertime! For fun (but seriously, you might need these) I put together these twenty hacks to survive family dinner.

I was excited that Scary Mommy (that somewhat sacrilegious parenting website) picked them up, so you can check it out here: Nineteen Practices To Help Your Family Survive the Dinner Table.

But, do you see the discrepancy?

Can You Survive Family Dinnertime With the Missing 20th Hack?

Took me awhile to figure out which hack they took out from my plan to a peaceful dinnertime. Here were my guesses:

  • It must have been my advice to meditate in the bathroom by making up beats, asking Jesus to help you before dinner!
  • What about putting extra seats at the table for all the unseen forces at work, from mental health diagnosis to learning disabilities?
  • Or could it have been talking with your kids about how you are donating to causes in your community and the world?
  • Dad jokes, because so many children don’t have fathers at home? Surely that was too gender specific!

Nope. To my surprise, it was none of these! Instead, Scary Mommy took out the most obvious hack, spanning generations of family dinners. Tonight I will pass on to you, free of charge:

We make picky eaters take a bite to try it. Then the next time, they get two, three, etc…

-Elisa Johnston (a wise mama)

Why in the world did they take that one out!? At first I thought it was because it was a no-brainier to have your kids try the food. Heck, even the therapist at my kids’ school, while leading us through a Yale created and researched anxiety program, guided us to direct kids to try food they don’t want to eat. (Of course, it must also be a written target, delivered with a lot of affirming statements, like “we know this is hard for you, but we believe you can get through this!”)

Then I reconsidered. Maybe this tip is just too controversial. I guess I can tell people to pray, but not to have their kids try a “no thank you bite”. After all, they might have a rare allergy to that new food that their mama puts on their plate…and then come back to this article and sue ScaryMommy.com

The Best Family Dinner Hack

However, my favorite of the twenty hacks for surviving family dinner is the following:

Pour on lots of grace. It tastes better than Diet Coke, it’s smoother than red wine, and works quicker than late-night coffee.

Elisa Johnston

So, dearest parents and caregivers, I believe you can make a difference in your home. If family dinners are going to create a foundation for our kids to connect with us and become confident enough to believe they can change the world, shared meals are worth it.

Read the other nineteen family dinnertime survival hacks here.

  1. Tell me in the comments a family dinner hack that has helped you guys!
  2. Share the original post on ScaryMommy.com to support me while helping other families make a difference in their own home!