How to diffuse tension at the dinner table

We’ve all been there.

The kiddo proclaiming “no!”, wanting to play and not interested in food.

Throwing food / playing in it.

Trying to feed the family pet(s) their portion.

Shoving the plate as far as it can physically get from them like it’s toxic or uranium.

Tears streaming down their face when you remind them that it’s dinner time.

This isn’t how you pictured family time at dinner, right?

You had visions of spending quality time together as a family around the dinner table. To giggle, chat and share stories about your day.

If you’re the one who cooks, you envisioned everyone gobbling down your creation with a smile on their face and a full belly afterwards. It’s so hard after spending time and effort on crafting a meal that in theory everyone should love and your child or children totally could not care less.

How you choose to deal with it is up to your parenting philosophy.

No judgement here!

This used to be a point of tension at our house, too.

Poor hubby used to get really wound up about it, and I would feel uneasy, nervous and tense waiting to see how dinner would go that night. And (sarcasm) surprise surprise! Our son picked up on it.

Then I had a brain wave. What always helps everyone in the house instantly get in a better mind space, a more laid back, relaxed frame of mind?

What could diffuse the tension at the dinner table when things start to escalate? 


Yes, it’s that simple.

We have speakers in the dining room and play music. It varies day to day. Sometimes we just play whatever the shuffle gods on my ancient iPod deem to be what we should be bathed aurally in during our meal.

Tonight it was my Motown playlist. And tell you what, we discovered that the munchkin loves the Supremes. I’ve honestly seen a lot of chair bopping from him in my day, it was nothing compared to tonight!

Music soothes, music unites, music gets us laughing and dancing in our chairs again. Even if, like tonight for us, the kiddo isn’t eating his food (despite it having things in there he LOVES), we can still enjoy ourselves because we create new memories around the enjoyment of the tunes bouncing around in the the speakers and in our kitchen diner.

We relax. We bond. We let go. Even if many things about dinner aren’t going perfectly.

We live in the moment as a family and enjoy the music.



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