School has started and I look forward to the routine that comes with school schedules. The home cooked meals after work, the homework, the cool nights that lead to gathering under a blanket and tucking the kids in at a decent time.
But its all been turned upside down this fall as my son is getting older and participating in more activities that take more time after school and into the evening. I’m not blaming anything on him, it’s me that has to adjust. I guess I’m grieving the simple times when my kids were younger.
And the big thing to adjust? Family mealtime.
Not giving it up, just adjusting my perspective and expectations. It’s a complicated time of the day: homework, wanting to talk about what happened during the day, wanting a healthy meal for the family, hurry to get to football…these are all thoughts running through my head during those precious evening hours after school.
But I know my kids are healthier and happier when our family meals are taking place on a frequent basis. I’m healthier and happier when we gather around the table. As is my husband. It’s not just my observation, it’s a fact based on numerous studies on the benefit of family meals.
But it’s hard to lead a family in the right direction to gather around the table in our modern, fast-paced world.
What to do? My friends at The Family Dinner Project shared some thoughts:
1. Make the commitment:
Make it a non-negotiable to have one meal or snack together every day. Hey, sometimes its dessert.
2. Make it simple:
Meals don’t have to be complicated. My crock pot has been a saving grace these school nights. Plus planning ahead helps a lot!
3. Make it fun:
Get in the kitchen together and everyone has a job. Like one of my favorite ladies at work says “when everyone does a little, no one has to do a lot”. She is brilliant!
4. Make it matter:
This can be as simple as sharing our rose and thorn of the day (best and worst parts of the day) or playing a simple game or choosing a question from the chat jar.
My family is healthier mentally, physically and emotionally when we share what’s good at family mealtime. How do you share what’s good with your family?
Disclaimer: I received gift cards and product samples from Welch’s with their #ShareWhatsGood campaign for my post. Thoughts and opinions are my own.
For recipes and more ideas:
Family Mealtime Toolkit