Before we talk about how to make family dinners happen, we want you to know that we’re not trying to make you feel guilty if you don’t eat together as a family that often. Because while eating together is a admirable goal, and a huge plus when it does happen, you can still have a loving, healthy, close family without gathering around the table every night.
So when you can have family dinners, enjoy them, without the side of guilt.
Here are 5 ways to make family dinners happen more often.
1. Schedule It.
Look at your family’s schedules – is there one night that looks more manageable than the others? If so, make that “family meal night.” Put it on everyone’s calendar and plan on being home at a certain time – keep that “appointment” just as you would keep a business meeting, a doctor’s appointment, or a sports practice.
2. Weekend Togetherness.
Try to eat at least one meal together over the weekend; it can be breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Again, make it part of your family’s routine. Once you do get the gang together, keep the kids at the table, even after they’ve finished eating. Use that time to just talk – about something in the news, school updates or plans for your next family vacation.
3. Meal Plan.
Spending half an hour planning the week’s dinner meals can actually save you hours of fighting the traffic for last minute trips to the grocery store and the 4 o’clock panic of having to come up with something for dinner. Content Director Susan Merrill has lots of family-friendly meals in her Sunday Supper section on her blog.
4. Plan B.
If the family is finally going to eat a meal together, but you don’t have anything planned for dinner…wing it. Pick up something from a restaurant, use frozen dinners or even have a cereal and fruit night. The point is to stick to your schedule of eating together.
5. Keep it Light.
Family meal night is a great opportunity to grow closer to your children and your husband. Try to leave heavy topics or criticisms for another time. Make the environment loving and nurturing. Need help finding a fun topic of conversation? Use our TALK Conversation Starters.