How does that old saying go? The family that eats together…….
Growing demands on free time and an increasing list of extracurricular activities combine to challenge modern families when it comes to family mealtime. While a sit-down meal with knife and fork were the hallmarks of family meals just a generation ago, the 21st century mealtime has evolved.
With increasing numbers of parents and caregivers working outside of the home, and a growing list of extracurricular activities for kids (football, track, science clubs, 4-H, etc.), time is at a premium. Balancing work life with parenting often means scheduling time to stay connected. A good place to start is mealtime.
Here are some ideas to help reconnect with mealtime:
- Plan with your family; children can suggest new recipes to try.
- Attach a menu board to the fridge and have family members vote on dinner options.
- Set a menu for the week and make a shopping list of required items.
- Share responsibilities for meal preparation with children, assigning age-appropriate tasks.
- Make it a “Technology Free Zone” – no phones, computers or social media.
Family Breakfast – Make the most of early morning risers.
- Have family members select a task and prepare the night before.
- Keep it FUN.
- Include family favorites on the menu.
- Ideas – Monster faced pancakes, overnight oats, and yogurt parfaits.
Dinner on the Go – Take dinner out.
- Make family meals an adventure.
- Be flexible – make family the focus.
- Set a theme – hot dogs/beans at softball practice, hoagie sandwiches at the soccer game, lettuce wraps in the garden before a Club meeting.
There is only one rule for family mealtime; have it with your family!