How much family time do you actually get each week? I mean actual hanging out time with just your family? For most of us, this is probably a really embarrassing number. We're all busy, especially if you have kids involved in different activities and other obligations. Our lives have become fast paced and we forget about sitting down for family dinner each night. If your family struggles with eating meals together, here are 5 ways to make eating as a family more fun (so your kids will look forward to this time together!).While it might not be possible to gather everyone around the table every night, this guarantee that you have at least some time with your family each week, and provide an awesome opportunity for bonding.
How to Make Eating as a Family More Fun
Let your family be involved in meal planning
When planning your meals, give your family members a chance to voice their opinion. Allowing them to help partake in some of the meal choices will get them excited for dinner, and add to their desire to actually attend family dinner. This also helps to take some stress off mom since it can be such a chore to figure out what to cook each week. And if you have picky eaters, you know they'll eat more if they've chosen a meal they like.
Have occasional theme nights
You don’t have to go all out with Spanish music and sombreros for Mexican night, but themed nights can make eating meals together more fun. You can go as far as making “Taco Tuesday” or “Pizza Friday” a part of your family’s schedule. If you want to go the extra mile, and you have the time, take your theme a step further by dressing up or playing some music.
Get the family involved in preparation
There is something each of your family members can do to help with dinner preparation. Younger kids can set the table, and teenagers can load the dishwasher. By getting the family involved with meal prep and cleanup, you will not only save some time but spend more time together. This is also a great way to introduce the idea of chores, if you haven't already. If the kids are involved in preparing family dinner, they'll have a better understanding of how much work it is to make dinner each night. But this part can be made more fun too, just play some music and don't frame it like work!
Don’t make everything gourmet
While it can be tempting to whip up gourmet, hour-long dinners every night… it’s just not possible. Pick recipes that don’t take long to prepare, and use your kitchen tools such as the crockpot or pressure cooker to make dinners take less work. Eating meals together doesn't have to be formal. Keep things casual so the focus is on the time spent together. Sometimes I forget that eating a quick sandwich for dinner is ok. The point is eating as a family, which could even be eating something your husband picks up and brings home for dinner that you eat together at the table.
Make it fun
Conversation games, music, and more can all add to the overall family dinner experience. Keep it fun by saving the hard topics such as bad grades or punishments for another time. Family dinners should be fun and upbeat. If they start to turn into a time to dish out the dirty laundry, no one will want to do it. For us, eating as a family has been a great way to share our love of music with the kids where we can explore new genres and chat about certain bands. We now rotate who gets to pick the music so we, the parents, can also learn from the kids.
Eating as a family can sometimes feel like a chore to the kids who would prefer to eat while playing their favorite video games or reading a favorite book. Eating meals together can be really fun. Keep these 5 ideas in mind and family dinner time will be something they (and you!) look forward to!
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