Every Monday, I share a family happiness tip—something that works for our family, that you might want to try with your own.

This week’s tip is to make a “positive mealtime” rule—no one is allowed to gripe or argue. Many days, meals are the only times when everyone (or nearly everyone) is together—and the prevailing mood can set the tone for family interactions for hours, if not days, to come. Instead of focusing on what’s wrong, consciously discuss good things that have happened, and what you’re all looking forward to doing in the future.

Believe me, I know what it’s like to sit down at the table and be tempted to complain about a frustrating day at work or a project I didn’t finish or a miserable meeting I had that morning. But complaining doesn’t make me feel any better, and it certainly doesn’t accomplish anything constructive. On the other hand, when I hear what my kids have learned in school or share how I accomplished a goal, I really do feel more optimistic and energized. And so does the rest of my family.

How about you? Do you have any mealtime rules?


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