by David & Anne Ellsworth

Studies have shown that regular family time can have a positive effect on children. A structured gathering offers them a chance to be heard and a chance to listen. It can increase their confidence and self-worth. And as we all know, good self-esteem can help kids make better grades and improve their behavior. It might also lead to increased or improved creativity. As it turns out, we already have a natural and powerful tool for our regularly scheduled family time: dinnertime.

The song "Dinnertime" talks about the positive aspects of sharing a meal, from the time together itself to the opportunities to make wise choices about nutrition and eating habits (chew slowly!). The lyrics and melody are fairly simple, so the song is perfect for young singers. But if you'd rather have your kids come up with their own favorite foods for dinner (as in verse 2), they can certainly change ours. Where we have "salad, green beans, steak," maybe they prefer "pasta, carrots, milk." Or "s'ghetti, chicken, peas." The easy quarter note rhythms make it a snap to exchange food choices. Actually the same goes for the conversational parts. Instead of Uncle Joe, how about brother Jim? Or Grandma Smith?

Whatever you choose to do, take the opportunity to talk about the dinnertime rituals of your students. Do they sit at the table? Do they help prepare the meal? What kinds of things do they talk about? Keep it upbeat and help your young charges recognize that dinnertime can be not only important, but also fun.

Note: Here's a neat piece of info for you. Part of the synthesized tracks on this tune came from an app that David played on his iPhone! Isn't technology amazing?

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.