It’s almost back to school time, and if you are anything like my family that means back to school, soccer, piano lessons, HKRS, and so many more things. We know it is very important to eat family dinners, but sometimes they just seem so stressful! As a parent, it’s difficult to work all day and then be ready to come home, supervise homework, cook a meal, round up the family, etc., so here are a few suggestions to make meals a little less T headache:
1. Work together to plan meals. Take a few minutes over the weekend and have each person write down a meal that they would like to have during the week. Make a schedule of the meals that everyone can see so that they know what to expect.
2. Try something new, but always have a back-up plan. I love finding new recipes and meal ideas, however, sometimes I am a gigantic Pinterest fail. I always make sure that we have super-fast options on hand like organic canned soups, whole grain bread with PB & J, or bags of salad and toppings on hand to use in a pinch.
3. Turn off electronics. This seems like such a no-brainer, but every time a parent sneaks a peek at a text or checks their email during dinner you set a poor example for your kids. Checking football scores or returning a message can wait until after the family is done eating.
4. Play a game! I always used to get frustrated when I would try to initiate conversation about everyone’s day and I would get little to no feedback, so to start conversations we write funny little questions on a piece of paper, toss them all into a hat and take turns drawing. These can lead to really funny conversations- especially with little ones (try it! Ask a two-year-old what kind of animal they would like to be and see what their response is! You won’t be disappointed!!)
5. Make it a party! Celebrate a great test score or other achievement by adding in some special decorations. Dollar store paper napkins or throw away table cloths in your kid’s favorite colors or printed paper plates can go a long way to make kids feel special.
And lastly, remember, kids will never remember a TV show or a video game, but time when they feel loved and as an active participant in the family will be the most important in the long run.