We’re excited to welcome Susan Heid from The Confident Mom to our blog today! Susan has been an eMeals blogger for several years now and is a fabulous resource for all your parenting and family needs. Thanks for sharing tips on how to make family dinner more fun with us today, Susan!
Let’s face it, we moms can get pretty caught up in the mundane daily events and creating fabulous family dinners just doesn’t happen all the time. For most of us, or perhaps it’s just me, getting dinner on the table can be a complete victory in more ways than one!
I do love using eMeals to help me plan my weekly dinner menus as well as be a little more creative in the kitchen by trying new recipes. But when you come right down to it, family dinner hour is really not all about the food. It is a lot more about the time around the table.
Finding ways to create more fun at the dinner table is not as hard as you think and I’ll share a few ways our blended family creates a fun environment around the dinner table as often as we can.
Have a screen machine basket
This is a must for any busy and connected family. For us, our kids have screen devices, whether cell phones, iPods or iPads. Even our four year old has a device he thinks is his cell phone, although it doesn’t even make a sound, but he thinks it does! To keep peace at the table and everyone, including mom and dad free to enjoy the time gathered around, we have a basket placed on the kitchen counter to place all devices in.
We try to make sure they are turned off or the ringing and/or vibrating can be just as distracting as if someone actually answered the phone. This eliminates the need to check Facebook, or answer an incoming text message. It has helped everyone get connected with who matters at the table.
Play a game
I mentioned we are a blended family, coming together a little over 6 years ago. We each had our own routines with dinner and it was fun to combine them and create new ones. In our home, before I was remarried, we had a game of questions we used called, Table Topics and it was a hit. When we introduced this game to our “new” family it grew to be even more of a hit. There is nothing better than having more voices in the conversation and answers to some of the funny as well as serious questions that came up.
I have since added to our collection with a few other similar games like Chat Pack for Kids and Melissa and Doug’s Family Dinner Box of Questions. We often end up staying at the table much past the time the last person is done eating.
Cook with the Kids
This can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your attitude as a mom. If you are rushing home to get dinner on the table, this is not your first choice to keep the show on schedule, but you can use this on days when you have just a bit more time. Allowing kids in the kitchen to help you prep and fix the dinner gives your child a glimpse into real life and they truly learn some life skills that they can take when they leave the nest. When your kids get a bit older, allow them to plan and cook dinner on a night during the week – just set up a few expectations and allow their creativity to shine.
Have Theme Nights
This is an oldie but a goodie – why not have set days of the week as theme nights, whether your family enjoys pizza or Mexican – set up a certain day that provides that consistency and tradition for your family to look forward to. I know when I grew up we had homemade pizza almost every Friday night and it was always a fun time. Take it one step further and maybe you can make it a pizza and move night, where you eat on trays in the family room or on the floor with a picnic.
Finding ways to get out of the ordinary routine helps create new experiences for your family and draws everyone closer together – and that is what the dinner hour is really about.
Susan Heid is a PCI Certified Parent Coach® and Certified Family Manager® Coach and founder of The Confident Mom, where she is dedicated to mentoring and encouraging woman to make small intentional changes in their home, becoming more organized, peaceful and confident in their role as moms. Make sure to stop by and grab a FREE copy of her brand new 2014 Confident Mom Weekly Household Planner today!