#TWKatHome Family Fridays

Reflect Your Priorities Around the Kitchen and Table

Wendy Jeffries, Executive Director, TasteWise Kids

Our #TWKFamilyFridays series is where we hope to provide you with resources to both learn a little more about the world of food and its sources, and connect with one another in the process.


Given that the school year is coming up for many of us, it means a time for change. Even if you don’t have school age kids, it’s a time of year that also comes with change, and this year is certainly no different. Instead of digging into what our fall will look like at my house in terms of at-home learning and scheduling shifts, I’ve been thinking about a few ways to make sure our priorities stay front and center in fun and authentic ways through the end of summer and into the school year.

Determine your priorities

With all that we are weighing this year with virtual school, ensuring academic progress, and let’s be honest - some semblance of sanity - it can be hard to take a step back. But take a moment and think about what you want your kids to walk away learning/knowing this school year and beyond, or I’d say before, their grade-level academic objectives. Do you want them to value books or art? To learn a new language? Learn how to throw a football? Give back to their community? Try to set 2-3 priorities for your family.  


Keep a few things out that reflect your priorities

As much as I like to have things put away in our house, that is not always a reality with 2 young kids. Instead, I’ve embraced it. To help my preschooler stay in her seat during mealtimes and to encourage my elementary school student to work on her reading, I’ve started to put a few books on our kitchen counter near our stools. I’ve been amazed (but not surprised, as I used to do this but completely forgot about it in the past few months) that after a few days, the requests at meal time have shifted from “can we listen to music or watch a video?” to “can you read a book?” By changing up the books, they continue to ask as they want to see what is new. I’ve done the same thing with art supplies – though not for meal times – to great success as well.

Note: These don’t have to be new books - I’ve been “recycling” from our bookshelves and gotten a few new books from the library. If you are not aware, area libraries are open for pick up if you put books on hold. And Baltimore City libraries will also mail books to families if requested!

Create a time to share and reflect

Getting sick of the conversations at the breakfast or dinner table being about the same things each day given we have limited “other/outside” activities happening? Or just having more conversations since many of us are home more? Use these priorities as ways to frame or think about conversations. Here’s a few to get started with:

  • Adding art/books/reading to your schedule?  Which art supply or book did you like from this week? If you could be a color what would it be and why? Which character did you like - what would that character’s next adventure be?
  • Learn a new language? Bring a dictionary (or even a phone!) to the table and look up the ingredients of what you are eating; ask a question with that new vocabulary word; what other vocabulary or activities you would like to learn the words from? Brainstorm a food or entire meal you could make that reflects a country where this language is spoken.
  • Learn how to throw a football? What foods give you energy to be a better athlete/power your body to throw? What are healthy snacks to make? What does it mean to eat healthy? How many sources of protein can you name?

For more tips about ways to spark conversations around the dinner table, check out our Conversations Around the Table post and printable sheet.

If you are not able to have these conversations at home/during mealtimes – get creative. Write a question on a post-it note and leave it on the counter for your kid to find. Have them text you a response during your workday. Or is your quality time in the car or at bedtime? Build in a few minutes to have a conversation. Remember it is not about the timing of these conversations, it’s about connecting with your kids and sharing.