Archived Articles by Shaina Olmanson
As we head toward the school year, August is the last push before we fill the backpacks with crisp new folders and fresh boxes of crayons just waiting to be cracked into. Our family has our pre-back-to-school activities down, repeating them year after year so that they become the official end to our summer vacation, a family ritual as we head into the school year.
We kiss summer goodbye with a huge family outing to the state fair, complete with food-on-a-stick and the birthing barn. It's an annual date that we would never miss. Scotch eggs are consumed, and we finalize the event by staying out as late as we can with four little ones in tow.
At home, though, the ritual remains the same whether it's summer vacation or during the school year. Daily we perform it, going through the motions, making it last. It's important to us that we make it a permanent part of our family dynamic, the way we work, and so as school approaches, it will remain the same.
Nightly family dinners are a given in our house, where together we cook, serve, and eat a meal. The food changes, the mood changes, but we come together to sit and share food. It's that simple mealtime ritual that is the constant in our family, whether we're in the middle of summer vacation or the cold winter. It's our chance to relax after a long day of running, to talk, to break bread at the same table, and I can't see our mealtime routine changing anytime soon. We just keep adjusting as necessary to accommodate work schedules, athletic events, and after-school concerts.
Studies show that regular family dinners lead to children who are healthier, get better grades, are less likely to smoke, drink alcohol, or try drugs. The list goes on, but the advice is simple: This is something to make a priority.
A simple approach: Dinner doesn't have to be fancy, and it can start as just a few nights a week. Some days it can be as simple as leftover chicken turned chicken salad sandwich and a piece of fruit. The point here is that you are consuming it together as a family.
See what else Shaina is bringing to the table at www.foodformyfamily.com/