This family dinner post is sponsored by McCain Potatoes and Mom Central but all opinions expressed here are my own.
Growing up many years ago, family dinner was very important in my house. My dad didn’t get home til after 6 but we always sat down to eat dinner together. You did not answer the phone, read a book, listen to the radio or get distracted by anything else during the family dinner. You ate and you talked to your family. Fast forward 30 years and now I am just as adamant about the sanctity of the family dinner as my mom and dad were. My kids know that they cannot answer the phone or have their music playing while we eat. The hardest one to convert to the family dinner rules was actually my husband. During March Madness we seriously fought like cats and dogs about turning off the TV to eat dinner! Then we got Comast DVR and started taping the games to watch AFTER dinner. Peace and harmony as a result of technology. It is a beautiful thing. I firmly believe that the way to staying connected with your family is through the family dinner. If you are thinking your family needs to reconnect a little bit, here are a few of my tips for making the family dinner a happy time of day for everyone.
Tips for a Successful Family Dinner
1. Be prepared: Make up a menu for meals you can create quickly. Keep your pantry stocked with the ingredients you need for those meals. No worrying last minute about what you are going to eat. Just look at he list and pull out the ingredients.
2. Enlist help: Even the smallest of children can help prepare the family dinner. My kids jobs when they were little included things like snapping green beans and setting the table. Start your kids off at a young age and the concept of a family dinner will be deeply engrained by the time they move out on their own.
3. Set a goal: If you NEVER eat together as a family try to aim for just 2 or three days a week where you sit down to a family dinner together. Even just sitting down a few days a week is better than nothing!
4. Learn to use your slow cooker! The slow cooker is the perfect way to enjoy a family dinner with very little effort on your part. Put things in the slow cooker in the morning and when you get home from work or school just have the kids set the table and sit down to eat!
5. Lay out the rules ahead of time. Make sure your family knows what to expect. If the phone rings you do NOT answer it. There are no electronics allowed at the dinner table. You will speak to each other in respectful voices. Okay, this one is hard. I have teenagers and I swear they live to torment each other. But, we are still working on making the family dinner a place where we do NOT argue with each other. It’s a work in progress!
6. Serve healthy appetizers: Sometimes cooking a family dinner might take a little while. Hungry toddlers are CRANKY toddlers. Put out a tray of fruit, veggies, cheese and crackers to nibble on while you work on preparing your dinner.
Family dinner is an important time of the day. Studies have shown that kids who sit down with their parents to eat dinner do better in school and are less likely to get involved in drugs and alcohol. You will also be more connected with your kids and will have time to actually talk to them about their friends, school, and what sort of things they have been up to lately. The other really big perk to the family dinner is that people eat healthier when they sit down to a meal together! And remember, not every single thing you serve needs to be completely from scratch. A combination of fresh foods with premade foods that are minimally processed with make getting dinner on the table much easier.
McCain Grocery Goodness Giveaway
McCain Potatoes is running a Facebook Contest where they will select 1 winner each week (8 winners total) to receive a $500 grocery store gift card! Contestants can also check out the Grocery Goodness Giveaway tab for to receive a $1 off coupon off any 1 bag of McCain Potato products!
Want to enter? Check out McCain Potatoes on Facebook!
Disclaimer: I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for McCain Foods. I received a promotional item as a thank-you for participating.