1668Family Dinners: Just Holiday Time or All the Time? + Holiday Gift Ideas
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Family Dinners: Just Holiday Time or All the Time?
With the holidays upon us, there's likely going to be a lot of family
gatherings - meals included. It brings up the question of how essential these
rituals are to you - not just at holiday time - but all the time.
Family dinners can be a loving, predictable routine that make kids feel safe
and cherished. It's wonderful to know there is something you can always count
on, even when there's so much unpredictability and change in our fast-paced
lives. Yet with all the activities kids are running to after school - sports,
arts, music, and more - family meals often fall to the wayside. Trying to
juggle multiple kids' schedules becomes and almost Herculean task. So it's
crucial to think about what's key to your family - what your values are - and
come up with a workable solution.
Find a workable solution:
There's a wide range of what works. Some of the families I treat insist on the
importance of gathering together every night. They believe that touching base
daily is critical, especially after such busy days. These families work their
kids' schedules so that there is only one after school activity a day. If Jonny
might have soccer on Monday, Erin waits until Tuesday for her piano lesson. Dad
leaves for work early in the am, and if need be, finishes a project after the
kids are in bed. That way, everyone is home for dinner.
Other folks choose a couple of nights a week as treasured; no one makes plans
Wednesday and Sunday evenings. And on the other nights, whichever parent is
home has special alone time with the children that aren't out. It seems to
balance out well.
Still other families accept the chaos of everyone's schedules during the week,
but keep Friday nights as a sacred ritual. They pull out their very best china
and the kids drink juice from wine glasses. They light candles and bring the
spirit of love into their home and hearts as they welcome the weekend. Everyone
feels like a "special guest" at the table. And everyone looks forward to this
weekly loving connection.
No matter how crazy and busy your lives are, find a mealtime ritual that works
for your family.
Appreciate the healing possibilities:
There's nothing like a laughter-filled table to release the stress of the day
with people whom you love and who love you. It's a great time to hear about
everyone's experience - highs, lows, funny moments, silly seconds... One family
has a unique take on the best/worst of the day; they share what their "rose"
and "thorn" were that day and double up on the positive by adding a "petal" or
two of sweet stories. Plus, the understanding that comes from knowing someone
really listens to you - that a family member is on your team - can be
exhilarating, cathartic, and healing.
Five tips to connect at the dinner table:
1. Start dinnertime during set-up-time and involve everyone - preparing the
meal, setting the table, placing food - even the youngest can help.
2. Try to talk one at a time and ask follow-up questions after someone speaks.
Play simple sharing games such as "rose/thorn" or "high/low" or "success" of
3. So no one person hogs the conversation, everyone gets to speak once before
the free-for-all of anyone speaks begins.
4. Express gratitude before or after every meal holding hands.
5. No one gets up from the table till the last eater is done; parents may want
to linger to chat after the kids are excused.
Please read more...
Electronic free zone?
Six everyday activities that can also promote bonding:
All found on Huffington Post
* Much of this article was prepared for a larger article for reporter Joanne
Richard of Sun Media in Canada. Read Joanne's complete article, "Family Dinners
Can Build Teen Confidence and Reduce Obesity," here.
**A special thank you and appreciation to the families who contributed many of
these terrific ideas. Please write and share yours.
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With love and light,
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About Dr. Charlotte Reznick
Charlotte Reznick PhD specializes in helping children and adolescents develop
the emotional skills necessary for a happy and successful life. She is a
licensed educational psychologist and Associate Clinical Professor of
Psychology at UCLA. Dr. Charlotte is the creator of Imagery For Kids^TM:
Breakthrough for Learning, Creativity, and Empowerment and is the author/
producer of several therapeutic CDs for children, teens, and parents. An
international workshop leader on the healing power of children's imagination,
she maintains a private practice in Los Angeles, California. Visit
THE POWER OF YOUR CHILD'S IMAGINATION
Go here to join in.....
Radio Interview (Podcast)
Happy Healthy Families
Host: Hannah Keeley
(Link to Site)
Workshop at School
Paul Revere Middle School
8:30 - 10:00 am
(Link to School)
Workshop at School
Westchester Parents Nursery School
7:00 - 9:00 pm
(Link to School)
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Psychotherapy Networker Symposium
Creating a New Wisdom
Omni Shoreham Hotel
(Link to conference)
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California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists
Altogether Now: Diverse Faces of Mental Health
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(Link to Conference)
L.A. Times best-selling 
The Power of Your Child's Imagination: How to Transform Stress and Anxiety
into Joy and Success
I'm passionate about helping kids develop self-love and learn self-healing
techniques for life's challenges.
I'd be delighted to come to your school or organization - anywhere in the
world. Let me share how Nine Imagination Tools can transform stress and anxiety
into joy and success for the lives of the children and teens you care about.
Write me directly and tell me your needs at
Dr. Reznick can help; call (310) 889-7859 for more information.
Imagery For Kids | 11911 San Vicente Blvd. | Suite 240 - Brentwood | Los
Angeles, CA 90049
Counseling Services, Guided Imagery, and Meditation Training offered to clients
living in: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills,
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