Between soccer practice and piano lessons, homework and social engagements, getting your family eating together at dinner can be a challenge. When today’s moms and dads were growing up, every night was family dinner night. However, today’s family dinner nights are more often than not just another item to add to our mom-guilt list.
Instead of thinking of family dinner night as a chore, make it something that everyone in the family looks forward to with a few simple tips.
Make It Quick But Make It Count
Fifteen minutes of face time while eating quick family meals together may seem like something small, but the benefits can be huge. Use dinnertime (even if it’s just a few minutes) to ask the kids about their day. Make dinner a distraction-free, electronics-free time of day. Yes, the kids (and parents!) can survive without their smartphones for a few minutes while they eat.
Keep It Simple
Dinner doesn’t have to be elaborate or time intensive to be delicious. Simple 30-minute (or less) meals are great for busy moms and still satisfy the whole family. Instead of grabbing for another frozen pizza, heat up black bean and cheese quesadillas. One of our favorite quick and easy family meals is a Southwestern soup, which is ready almost as quickly as it takes the kids to set the table and wash up for dinner.
When the preparing the family meal, planning to involve everyone goes a long way. Some of our favorite meals are the ones that we all work together to get on the table. Gather everyone in the kitchen for 10 minutes of dicing veggies and putting the black beans and grated cheese in bowls for a taco bar dinner. By the time everyone is ready to eat, we’ve already clocked some valuable together time. Plus, when kids take ownership of the meals we eat and prepare together, I’m not the only one motivated to get everyone to the kitchen table. The kids actually look forward to it and urge me to get to the table!
Switch It Up
Stop serving the same old boring dishes and keep the family on its toes with some new family meals and fun twists on old favorites. Instead of spaghetti and meatballs with marinara, serve gnocchi with pesto. Or spice up the ordinary baked potato with a homemade chili bar.
Dinner doesn’t have to be frozen or fast food to be quick, and a quality family dinner doesn’t have to be a chore that takes all night. Keeping the meals simple and enjoying the time that you have to spend together will ensure that family dinnertime is an event that no one will want to miss.