Among the many joys of speaking to PTAs, PTOs, and other parent groups around the country is the chance to hear YOUR ideas for No Regrets Parenting. Yesterday I was honored to present my No Regrets Parenting Workshop to the Annual State Convention of the Colorado PTA. What a wonderful organization, and many thanks to President Karen Hobson and Workshop Organizer Rebecca Stumpf for putting on such a nice program. But, to get to the point…there was PTA magic at the end of my presentation.
I had just gotten to the “Taco Night” part of my talk. Here’s the gist of what I said: Pick one night a week for a theme dinner to add a little pizzazz to family meal time. Taco night, pizza night, Chinese night, fancy egg night, pancake night. Kids love to go out to eat, and they’re often more animated and engaged in a restaurant than they are at home. But you don’t need to go to restaurants to have fun venues and exotic menus. Turn your kitchen into a Japanese sushi bar or an Italian bistro once a week—or do each on a different night for twice the weekly benefit. Your kids will be even more excited about sitting down together if they have their favorite foods on a regular basis. And when kids are excited and having fun, they are energized in their conversation and in sharing their news at the dinner table.
I went on to explain that special dinner nights are also unique opportunities to increase kids’ involvement in the meal-making , and thereby increase the quality time you spend with them. That, after all, is what No Regrets Parenting is all about – capturing more minutes with your kids and turning those minutes into moments. When you create recurring themes for dinner, kids can assume bigger roles in getting the food to the table, because they’ll start to remember the food preparation steps from the last taco night. Washing the vegetables, stacking the tortillas, mixing the salsa, and gossiping about the latest news from school. Of course, I joked, you’re still in charge of blending the margaritas! I also mentioned the fabulous idea radio host Lizz Sommers shared with me for her family’s special themed dinner night – Saturday night Candlelight dinners (see my post from March 16: http://www.noregretsparenting.com/candlelight-dinners-for-no-regrets-parenting/).
And that’s when the magic of PTA presentations happened. A mom in the 2nd row raised her hand and asked, “Can I share one of our special dinner nights? At least once a month, my 4-year old daughter asks if we can have FunDippityDo night.” She went on to translate – Fondue Night! And the 4-year old is in charge of tearing the bread! I was so taken with the idea, I repeated it twice so everyone in the room could hear. But, although I managed to ask the mom if I could share her idea with others in my future presentations – I forgot to ask for her name to give her credit! So, if any of you from my workshop know this creative mom and can pass this blog post on to her, I’d love for her to comment and, if she’s willing, give us her name for appropriate kudos and No Regrets Parenting immortality on this blog.
I welcome your suggestions for FunDippityDo nights, and all other ideas for special dinners with your family. Please add your comments in the box below. If you don’t see the box, click on the title of this post and it will magically appear.