Modern life is busy and it can make mealtimes far more stressful than they need to be. Many families are out of the habit of sitting together at the table and eating a meal at the same time. What’s meant to be a time of peace and an opportunity for bonding becomes another thing on the to-do list that seems more like a chore than a pleasure.
Then there’s the kids. Perhaps your kids can’t agree on what meal they want. Perhaps they easily become distracted by the TV or other devices. If you’re yearning to get back to stress-free meals, here are a few tips that can help.
Eating a family meal shouldn’t be something you only do when you get around to it. If you want to make a success of family meals, they need to become part of your everyday routine. When a meal is served, it should be everyone’s que to down tools and head to the dinner table.
When it’s part of your routine, it becomes a habit and when it’s a habit, no one questions why it’s being done.
Cooking one meal for the whole family makes things a lot easier at meal times. Try not to offer alternatives to children if you can avoid them. Get everyone to eat the same meal so you don’t have to worry about cooking more than one.
Doing big and easy family meals will take up less of your time. You can even prep most of them hours in advance and freeze them so they’re ready and waiting when you need them. For instance, here’s a great crock pot pot roast recipe that pleases everyone.
When everyone uses a device for something, it can be hard to switch it off long enough to have a family meal. Make a clear rule that no devices are allowed at the dinner table when you’re having a meal. This is your opportunity to eat and talk together while you have the chance.
If you find that conversation is lacking, try asking some questions and going around the table with answers. If you need to get creative, make up an elaborate story about your day to grab their attention.
Meal times don’t have to be just about the food. If you’re all eating and running, you might want to think about doing something different. Think about what would make your family want to stay at the dinner table. Maybe you could turn one evening into a games night with buffet-style food.
Cooking works up an appetite. It’s great for young children to get involved with the preparation of the meal. Whether you have them cracking eggs for you or laying the table, it helps to build up to a meal rather than just being called to the dinner table when it’s all ready and waiting. For children, helping to prepare a meal can help instill a sense of value and achievement.
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