Which of the following do you think is most important to child development?
C. the family dinner
D. story time
- sets the table, being creative if inspired (stuffed animal centerpieces are fine)
- decides who sits where (unless the family enjoys the predictability of assigned seats)
- delivers things needed during dinner (refills on drinks, salt and pepper, an extra utensil, or extra napkins)
- receives an encouraging word and thanks from each family member. Clears the table afterwards
- does not grumble or complain, knowing that grumbling is actually volunteering to be on KP for the next dinner!
- Find out what simple meals your family likes: build-your-own sandwiches; raw vegetables, boiled eggs, cheese and crackers, and fruit.
- Pick up a rotisserie chicken or some other prepared food on your way home from work or other activity. Who cooks the food is not what matters; taking the time to sit and eat together is what matters.
- Keep paper plates and plastic cups on hand for when your schedule is tight.
If you get in late from work, if you or your husband work odd hours, if you are a single parent working a long shift, or if you have team practices to work around, extra creativity will be required to plan and pull off the family dinner. Depending on your circumstance, consider:
- Provide an early nutritious snack for the children, then have a late dinner together.
- Let the children eat dinner and bathe; then sit together later at the family dinner table to eat dessert.
- Eat an early family dinner together, and then allow the children a healthy snack before bed.
- Utilize the slow cooker to have meals ready when you arrive home. Focus family celebrations around dinner time
The possibilities are endless. Either purchase an official “You are special today!” plate or just use a plate that is different from your everyday plates and make it known to the family that this is the designated special plate. Make sure each member is getting the daily nutrition needed. The family dinner feeds body and spirit.