Welcome to Educated, Common Sense Parenting! This is my parenting education/commentary blog. Start here and read About This Blog.

I believe too many parents today have let their children rule their households. Their children dictate their daily lives, demand every ounce of their attention and do not show any respect for their parents. This needs to change. The only way to do this is if parents start letting good old common sense start dictating their parenting practices and stop letting their children run the show. You're the parent. Act like one.

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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Best Part, Worst Part

We just started a new little ritual at our dinner table that has turned out to be a great success. I have to caveat this by saying this was TOTALLY not my idea. I stole it from one of my friends who is a mother of 4 and takes care of all of her kids while her husband serves in Afghanistan 10 months out of the year. She is the true definition of Super Mom and much more amazing and innovative than I will ever be.

I am a big fan of everyone sitting around the dinner table and engaging in conversation in that Norman Rockwell-esque "family togetherness" time. I understand that family schedules don't always work out to have this special time every night...parents work late, kids have early bedtimes, soccer, ballet, whatever the case may be. However, AT LEAST 2 nights out of the week should be spent together at a family dinner. And note that this "family time" does not always have to mean sitting for an hour debating world issues. It can just be a 10 minute ritual of all coming together as a family over a pizza.

That being said, we have been doing a family dinner almost every single night, with the exception of some weekend nights when we put the kids to bed and Scott and I enjoy dinner alone. As Brooke as gotten older, she's gotten more into the "eat and run" mentality. She has better things to do, according to her :) So when I heard about Best Part, Worst Part I thought I would give it a try as a means to keep her at the table.

The concept is simple. You just go around the table and everyone tells what the best part of their day was. Then, they tell what the worst part was. Sounds simple and even juvenile, but it has turned out to be a hit!!

Number One, it gets us all talking. It completely gets you out of this conversation,

"So, Brooke how was your day at school?"
"What did you do today?"
"So you just sat in class at stared at the walls all day?"

Now that we do Best Part, Worst Part, I am hearing all sorts of funny stories about what happens at school and what she did all day. MUCH better than, "Nothing."

Number Two, it gets you and your spouse talking! I never know what to ask about Scott's day. Soooo.....what did you do today? Like I would really understand anyway! But by hearing the best part and worst part, it just makes it easier to talk about things that went on during the day.

Number Three, it's great for little ones because you just call it a "game." Let's play Best Part, Worst Part!! Little ones will do almost ANYthing if it's called a "game."

Last, I think it has helped us all be very grateful for what we have. Once we go over the "worst parts," we realize that if someone cutting me off on the freeway or spilling my coffee on my skirt was the WORST part of my day...wow, how lucky am I!?

All in all, this has been a huge hit at dinnertime and Brooke now stays at the table long enough to talk about her day. In fact, a couple of days ago I forgot to "play" the game and Brooke was reminded me, "WAIT!! We have to play Best Part, Worst Part!" I love it!