Ben and I were sick of eating the same foods over and over, and sick of dealing with the dinner wars. After losing two disastrous battles (dubbed the Spaghetti Meltdown and the Teryaki Incident) we parents came up with a new strategy. The Dinner Game.
You start each meal with three tokens. You lose a token for each rule you break. The person/people with the most tokens at the end of the meal get a sticker on the chart towards a reward of their choice. The rules are:
- Wait until after the prayer to start eating
- No complaining about what is on your plate
- You must try everything on your plate
- "Try" means either a single bite that is chewed and swallowed, or three separate licks with your tongue.
- Take turns talking (no interrupting)
- Sit properly in your seat unless excused
- BONUS: You can earn back a single token by finishing your whole plate
I honestly can't believe how well this worked. We're talking like night and day different. Eating together is pleasant! Jack looks forward to dinner and enjoys it! I enjoy cooking for us now! Everything is so much better.
Let me add that I started a second change at the same time. I went back to cooking dinners from recipes instead of memory and improvisation. I spend time finding new things to try and making meal plans. I mostly have used the Blue Apron Cookbook and the new Mark Bittman "How to Cook Everything Fast" book.
- Pork and sweet potato/brussel sprout hash
- Schnitzel with beet salad
- Chicken tacos with queso fresca, avocado, and lime
- Spaghetti with vegetable-rich meatballs and broccoli
I asked him to give the game a better name. He said "Dad and Mom and Jack and Sam's Sweetest Dinner Game." We're calling it "Sweetest Dinner Game" for short. Feel free to play your own at home :-)