Dinnertime in our household is definitely one of the most chaotic times for us. I’ve heard this from a lot of my family and friends. When the kids get home from school and the work day ends, so begins the challenge to get dinner on the table.
I’m not going to lie – it can be a bit of a mess. Sometimes the kids are tired and there’s whining about homework. Sometimes, and let’s be real, it’s me who’s doing the whining. When tummies are growling and people are exhausted it makes sense that our moods would plummet.
Growing up my mom always had a nice dinner ready for everyone. God bless her, I don’t know how she did it. But I have good memories of dinnertime and I really really want the same for my kids.
I’m probably not alone in this, am I?
Over the years of parenting we have found some things that have worked to make this time of day better for us.
Push dinnertime back
Now, I know what you might be thinking. They are begging you for food at 5:00 p.m. and you’ve got to get a meal on the table. This is why snack time is your friend. When kids get home from school you need to give them something that will fill them up for awhile. That way, you’re not rushed to make dinner right when everyone gets home. I personally like to eat early. But I’ve noticed if I push dinner back just by thirty minutes, everyone eats better. Plus, you don’t feel like a chicken with your head cut off!
Say no to technology
Resist the urge to let your children play with their phones/tablets at the table. You may obviously get some push back on this but I really put my foot down on this rule. I mean, we have all day to be on technology. We should have a few times that are super important to actually look at each other and connect. Family meals should be one of those. All technology is turned off and put away while eating dinner. And one person can’t get up until all the others have eaten.
Implement “Good Things”
Sometimes you need to spark a conversation so we started what we call “Good Things.” We simply go around the table and say at least one good thing that happened that day. This puts an immediate positive spin on things no matter what happened throughout the day. I know I’ve been sitting there before thinking, ugh, nothing good can come of this day. But when we start “Good Things” it forces me to think of something. Even if it’s just, “sitting here with my family eating dinner.” That’s a very good thing! The kids absolutely love this and now if we forget to do it they will remind us :)
So see, just a few simple things that can truly revolutionize your family dinnertime experience!