This was originally posted by the Marion & Polk Early Learning Hub here.

One thing that I think we have done really well as parents is we have been very intentional about making mealtime family time.  We put away our phones, make sure the TV is off and come sit down together for our meals. This doesn’t mean that our meals always go perfectly, especially when the kids decide they don’t want to eat what my wife has so lovingly prepared, but we nonetheless get some focused family time.

When I come home from work this has the added benefit of being a time where I get to talk with my kids and hear about their days.  My son has even multiple times just randomly asked me how my day was, showing that he was thinking about me and honestly cares about how my day went while I was away.  My daughter gives me beautiful smiles and precious laughs in between bites and making a mess of what’s on her plate. The other day when we were having dinner with our friends, she was standing on the bench next to me, laying her head on my shoulder and picking food off of my plate.  What’s better than that for wiping away some of the stress of the day?

As I mentioned, this doesn’t always go perfectly.  Food is sometimes thrown on the floor, there’s often a battle of how many more bites of the food they don’t enjoy as much they have to eat before they can get down, and meltdowns happen.  Some days we just decide, ok tonight we’re going to have a family picnic on the floor and watch a movie! But I believe this routine of eating together as a family that we have started will really help us down the line as our kids get older and we see them during the day less and less.  They’ll know that this is important family time where we get to connect and enjoy time together.

This is fatherhood…