Here are some ideas for making
time for family meals:
If your grandchild has
sports practice or will be late for dinner, take the meal to the child. Eat
picnic style and enjoy family conversation!
Schedule a family night
a set night when everyone is expected to be together no exceptions
(unless it is an emergency). Have everyone in the family decide together
what dinner will be whether it’s eating at a restaurant, having a
"pasta" or "Chinese" night at home, or having pizza
Give everyone a job to make
mealtime easier. Someone can set the table, fill glasses with ice cubes and
drinks make a salad, or help with clean up of pots and pans, for example. If
the children are old enough, they can even help plan menus including their
favorite foods or help with shopping for groceries.
If scheduling an evening
meal is too difficult, choose another meal like breakfast.
If eating together is
almost impossible during the week, plan a special breakfast or dinner on the
Keep healthy microwave
meals on hand for days when time is at a premium.
If your budget allows, buy
the main course, like a bucket of chicken or a pizza, and add fruits,
vegetables, and a healthy drink to round out the meal.
Make stews, soups, and
roasts in a crock-pot for a meal that is almost ready when you arrive home.
Plan meals to include
leftovers, so that foods can be reheated later to save time.
Even though mealtime is a
good chance to teach table manners, keep in mind the children’s ages and
have reasonable expectations. Use consequences, not criticism, to encourage
Keep mealtime conversations
fun, pleasant, and peaceful. A family meal is not the time to discuss
school, money, or relationship problems.
Children have a natural
sense of when they’re hungry and when they’re full. Do not expect or
demand them to clean their plates.