One of my fondest memories from my childhood is eating together as a family.
I think about my mom's delicious food, talking as a family and (of course) the dreaded cleanup! Now that I have my own family, I have realized how important it is to create healthy habits and those wonderful mealtime memories! Until recently, I wasn't making this a priority (boo) but I have decided to make a change and to hold myself accountable.
We created the Happy Mat because we were sick of mealtime being a dreaded event every evening. We just wanted less mess, less stress and to take back control of our kiddos! To our surprise, the Happy Mat does just that BUT it does SO much more! There are far less tipped bowls/plates and clean up is ezpz, but there is more to the story...
Let me set the stage before continuing. The Happy Mat instantly solved the mealtime problem I described above. That said; the boys still sat at the counter every night with their Happy Mats and I served their food. Sometimes I pulled up a stool and ate, sometimes I worked on my computer (ugh, I know!), sometimes Brad ate standing, sometimes he didn't. Things were better, calmer, easier, but besides that we didn't change the bad habits. Don't get me wrong, I thought about sitting together as a family, but just never implemented the change - because our dinner routine was now ezpz!
Shortly after the launch though, we realized that the Happy Mat was starting to change people's lives. Kids with disabilities were starting to eat independently (for the first time!) and families were finally able to SIT and eat together. Because of the opportunity that had presented itself, we wanted to hire an expert in the feeding space (MUCH more to come on that). Ms. Dawn will be our Special Needs Coordinator and expert in all things feeding related.
Dawn gave me the inspiration to make a few changes (in baby steps). First and foremost, we sit together as a family approximately 3-4 times a week now. Not going to lie, last night dad was gone so we had movie night with the Snack Mats :) BUT the majority of our meals are served as a family. I am also trying to make healthier food choices and introducing fun ways to keep the boys engaged. I am not a big vegetable eater (and either are the boys) so that's been my biggest focus. Surprisingly, they love quite a few veggies and constantly ask for more carrots (and of course ranch!). Mealtime is not only ezpz but it is literally my FAVORITE part of the day. We talk as a family, the boys share what made them happy at school and we laugh. The boys have our undivided attention and I am not busy picking up dumped plates.
So here is my ask :)
- Get your kiddos a few Happy Mats. You may even get a few for mom and dad (we eat on them now per the kiddos recommendation).
- Use the Happy Mat smile and eye compartments to serve three DIFFERENT foods - and try to make them healthy :)
- Sit together as a family and take back the table with us! Ditch that highchair tray and push the chair to the table with a Happy Mat.
- Have fun!
I am certainly not perfect and don't expect that from others, but will you join us in this movement? Together, lets make an effort to take back the table!