family | Mum In The Madhouse


Create meaningful family conversations with the right dining set

This is a sponsored article. Investing in the right dining furniture set can transform your dining area into a multi-functional space that encourages communication, collaboration, and creativity. It is not just about choosing a stylish or comfortable dining set, but about creating an environment that fosters meaningful family interactions.

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Connect with your children at mealtimes

However, I really encourage chatting and communication. When the boys were younger we had a news style roundup from each of us, where we “reported” our news and events from the day, which included what was had for dinner, what we have done, places we have been and also anything we needed to remember. MadDad and I did this as well as the boys. I would ask open ended questions about their day and encourage them to remember as much about it as they could. Food can always be warmed up.

Other ways to encourage conversation at the dinner table include:

Use story cubes
Ask questions such as What was the best part of your day?
My boys love hearing about when they were younger or other family members, so have conversations about how you chose their name or how you and your partner met.
Try finding foods all of a certain colour or starting with a certain letter.
My boys study a different topic each half term and we find out what it is and use that. For example recently the boys have been learning about Australia and Africa and we have been discussing our visit to South Africa and Captain James Cook who was from our area. The school provides us with the topic list each term and we make sure we research it, so we have something to discuss with them.
Why not let your children interview you and you them.

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My Thatcher Years

Mum was a SAHM. My Dad had gone to Grammar school and college and apprenticed at the “Dock” in the Engineering department. My Grandad was a blacksmith and had worked there from leaving school at 14, so you could say that shipbuilding ran in my blood. All the other males in the family either worked at the Docks, the steel yard or the chemical works. I grew up in Teesside an area of heavy industry born from iron and built of steel.

My parents were the first in their family to buy there own house and we lived a relatively good life. As a family there was two male incomes coming in to the house and we never really wanted for anything. We ate well, had great holidays and life was fab. I remember riding my bike after school to meet my Dad on the way home from work. We would get half way and he would stop the car and put the bikes in the back and go home together for a meal that my mum had cooked. We spent many a summer evening on my Granddad’s allotment where he grew vegetables cutting flowers and kept Hens. We would often build Dens in the nearby Nature reserve. Life was uncomplicated. My Dad was often to be found in the garage repairing car’s for friends or doing up one to sell for some extra cash.

I remember homemade clothes, family get togethers and riding my bike everywhere. I remember having to be home for 4.30 for dinner as Dad and Granddad got home at 4.15 and a meal was on the table at 4.30 every night. There was band practice twice a week and my Dad got his PSV so he could drive the Band Bus on a weekend to cpmpetitions. I remember sitting with my tape recording in the bedroom I shared with my brother taping songs off the radio trying to pause it before the presenter spoke, so that I could make mix tapes for the weekends journeys on the bus.

I went to a good primary school and an even better senior school and my Mum became a School Crossing Warden or LollyPop lady. We walked to school on our own from about seven years old and could often be found in the park after school fishing for guppies in the beck, carrying on at the golf links, crabbing at the boating lake or messing around on the beach.

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My Amazing Gran

My paternal Gran died long before I was born, in fact she died long before my Dad and Mum got together and got married. However, she was always with us growing up. My paternal Granddad lived with my parents in the house that my Dad’s wages had helped pay for when my Gran was ill. Her picture always stood in pride of place on the dresser top in the sitting room and the wedding picture of my Gran and Grandad hung next to the one of my mum and dad on the wall and it hangs next to it sill on my stairs.

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