Let’s talk about family mealtimes. The truth is that as much as you might imagine a picture-perfect family mealtime where everyone sits nicely at the table, no one cries about not liking the meal, and everyone chats calmly with one another, most mealtimes are nothing like this.
For most parents – especially parents with larger families – mealtimes can be exceedingly stressful.
The good news is that while family mealtimes can be stressful, this doesn’t have to be the case. Yes, feeding your family can seem like a real nightmare, and a battle every single night, but it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s simply a case of taking a moment to think about how you can make changes to your family’s eating habits.
In need of a little inspiration for making family mealtimes easier, below are a few useful tips and ideas to make family meals easier to manage.
Get creative in the kitchen
Sometimes family meals can become a little mundane. If you feel like you’re making the same meals time and time again, perhaps it’s time to take the time to think about what other options there are for family meals. Sometimes, mixing things up a little can make a big difference to how enjoyable family mealtimes can be.
How about trying out a new recipe, to see if your little ones might enjoy trying out a new meal? A great resource for finding new meal ideas is via Pinterest – you can find lots of fantastic family-friendly meals on social networking sites. You might also want to look online at food blogs for recipes, like this Peruvian chicken recipe, for instance. The more creative you can be with your recipes the better – just make sure to pick recipes that you know your little ones will enjoy eating.
Use conversation prompts
To make mealtimes more fun, consider turning dinner into a game and using conversation prompts to create interesting and insightful dinner time conversations with your family. Create a stack of family-friendly conversation prompts and have these out at mealtimes.
You can ask each family member to pick a prompt on different days of the week, and then use those prompts to make dinnertime conversation flow a little easier. Explain to your little ones that you’re treating them like adults with conversation prompts, and the chances are that they will behave better as they love feeling like one of the grownups.
Get the kids cooking
Another way to make mealtimes more enjoyable and to encourage your little ones to eat what’s put in front of them is to make them a part of the cooking process. Consider asking your kids to join you in the kitchen and help you to cook dinner. The chances are that your little ones will jump at the chance to be involved in the cooking process, and will love being able to help out in the kitchen.
Whether you’re making a basic stew or you’re making roast dinner, don’t be afraid to let the kids get involved in the cooking process. You could even give the little ones the task of making the dessert – you could even put them in charge of the whole dish.
Make meals fun
Dinner doesn’t always have to be a serious affair; sometimes it can be exciting to make mealtimes a little more fun. You don’t always have to cook a full meal, instead, you can do something a little different.
How about having a nacho-making night, where the whole family gets to make their own custom portion of nachos? Or, what about making pizzas as a family – this is always a real winner with kids as they love being able to pick their toppings.
Meals don’t always need to be a sit-down affair, they can be mixed up. How about once a week having a movie night dinner where you all sit in front of the television eating a snacky tea while watching a movie? Or, how about having a picnic in the garden or at the beach every so often? Get creative with how you structure mealtimes and you – and your little ones – will enjoy them more as a result. The more fun you can make mealtimes, the better.
Family mealtimes aren’t always easy, but there are lots of steps that you can take to make them a little easier. Hopefully, the guide above will act as a starting point for making family meals easier, less stressful, and more enjoyable for you and your little ones.