Dinnertime Meal Hack To Make Dinner More Enjoyable
We all know how important it is to eat meals together as a family. It is a time when we can all sit down, talk about our day, and enjoy some quality family time together. It’s a chance for us to reconnect and regroup after our daily busy lives. Or is it? Wouldn’t it be nice to have a dinnertime meal hack to make dinner more enjoyable?
I don’t know about you, but 5:00 pm is the time of day that can bring the most chaos in our home.
- The kids (and us parents!) are hungry, tired, and somewhat overwhelmed – to say the least.
- Kids are off to or coming back from soccer practice / piano lessons / dance class / studying at a friend’s house.
- There is a ton of homework that needs to be completed. Projects that need to be started / finished. Studying for tomorrow’s exam.
It’s no wonder how some families tend to rush the dinner portion of the evening so everyone can get on with their own chores and task list each night.
But that’s a shame.
I remember my childhood family dinners. In my opinion that was the best part of growing up. It was my favorite time of the day! It was a chance for all of us to get together and essentially hangout! We wouldn’t just talk about our days (sometimes that can be boring). We ended up telling jokes and laughing and telling stories. There really wasn’t a dull moment when it came to our dinnertime!
But I know I was lucky. We always got along as a family. However that picture-perfect dinnertime and family-table setting can oftentimes be less than picture-perfect.
So, here is my dinnertime meal hack that I’ve found super useful with my own family now!
A couple of years ago, I came up with a great dinnertime meal hack to restore order at our kitchen table. It gets the entire family to actually look forward to sitting down at the table together. We are always so busy running around with crazy schedules that I didn’t want to miss an opportunity to connect with each other.
My idea actually came from looking at my daughters’ backpacks. So many papers are sent home daily with them. Of course if you have children in school, I am sure you can relate to the overwhelming feeling of “What do I do with all of these papers”?!
So therefore, I came up with a fun and easy way to get our dinnertime conversation going – and focused!
During dinner, go through all of the paperwork that came home in everyone’s backpacks that day.
Every night, I empty the backpacks and make a big pile right next to my chair at the dinner table. Then as we eat dinner, I hold each item up one at a time. This gives us all a chance to ask questions and give compliments about the item.
In addition, I get to learn more about what my kids did in school that day and how their day was. (You know, besides the usual responses you hear: the “I forget,” “It was fine”, and “I don’t know” responses.
Moreover, this also gives me the opportunity to recognize and praise my daughters in front of the family. For example – when they did really well on a test, made a nice picture in art class, or brought home an award.
Of course, even if your kids aren’t quite school age yet, you could go through anything that shows off what they did that day.
- If they went to the library, show the books that they selected.
- If they colored a picture, hold it up for everyone to see and talk about what a great job they did.
Building Confidence Through Mealtime
My girls all really look forward to showing off their work from the day. The process of going through the papers really keeps them focused on the conversation. With this dinnertime meal hack, they are all more involved. Which means they are more eager to pitch in to the conversation and listen to what everyone else has to say.
Similarly enough, there are much less bathroom breaks, drink refills, and interruptions during dinner because we all want to see what’s in the pile of papers! It’s exciting. Each day is a new day of activities and reports and grades, so we cannot wait to find out what each other created and succeeded on that day.
It’s also a great confidence builder for my daughters to be able to “brag” a little bit about their day.
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Consequently, there will be the days where someone may not have done well on an assignment or test. But that’s all right. Teach your kids to be kind to one another. Because if this scenario happens and one of the children does not do well on a test, then this is a chance for the others to console and offer assistance to that child.
Let them know it’s all right, but to try better and harder next time. Your child will know that you are all there to help out whenever they need you! And isn’t that what family is for?!
And as an added bonus, I don’t feel so bad about sending so many papers to “artwork heaven” once we’ve gone through them 🙂
Let us know if you try this dinnertime meal hack, or if you have any others you would like to share!
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