I’m having a hard time making mealtimes into quality family time. If I’m not rushing one out to sports lessons, I’m battling with the other about why we can’t eat peanut butter and jelly every night for dinner. How can we make dinner a more pleasant experience?
Whether you’re emptying the dishwasher, feeding the baby, or packing hockey bags, it can be hard to get the family sitting down for a nice chat at the dinner table. Throw in a couple of picky eaters who don’t like your lasagna, and dinner time can start to look more like a three ring circus.
Condense your quality time: I think we all get a bit stressed at the prospect of having to fit 7 relaxed family mealtimes into the week along with extra-curricular activities, healthy menus, and quality conversation. If you’re finding this glowing image of family dining is being replaced with “Finish your meatloaf! Ballet started 10 minutes ago!” Don’t despair. Focus on quality over quantity. Start with Friday night pizza (even better if the kids help to make it!) and Sunday morning pancakes to sit down and enjoy each other’s company without the pressure of the time crunch and finicky eaters.
Sneak in the healthy stuff: The “vegetable bin” is a must around here. Keep veggies and fruits (cantaloupe, pineapple, and others that can be prepped in advance) cut up and stored in a plastic container in the fridge. If it can be tossed out on the counter for snacking during the afternoon, you can skip the battle over brussel sprouts when dinner time rolls around and keep mealtimes more positive.
Nanny Carrie’s Tip: Add some spice to the conversation. The old “How was your day?” tends to get a pretty lacklustre response. So get creative (and steer clear of any questions that can be answered with “Fine” or “Nothing.”) Try:
-“Who is the funniest person you know?”
-“If you could be any book character, who would you choose?”
Got a good family conversation starter? Share it here!