Do you ever scramble at mealtime, scouring your cabinets, refrigerator and freezer for something to make for your family? Did I mention that this takes place between 4:00 and 5:00 p.m. when the witching hour is getting ready to start?
No one likes this scenario, I have been there, done that and don’t want to go back. Recently I heard the statistic that 4 out of 10 parents site busy schedules interfering with regular (and healthier) family meals. I think it could be higher than that, but as parent, it can be hard to admit.
What I teach and what I know is that a plan for mealtime success begins with just that – a plan. So this week, I am going to share 5 Steps to Mealtime Success. Don’t knock yourself if you can’t make it happen every day this week. This week is all about setting yourself up for success. And with that…
First step: Make your kitchen and table inviting.
This is the most time-consuming step, best to get it out-of-the-way first. Making your kitchen inviting is just a better way of saying get rid of the clutter. If there is an appliance or tool that you haven’t used in over a year, are you really that likely to use it again? Simplifying the kitchen allows you to see what you have, what you really need and what can go to a new home. You will feel more relaxed in the kitchen with less clutter on the countertop, in the drawers and in the cabinets. Trust me on this, less clutter = more freedom. And it makes you want to spend time in your kitchen. I wish I had a larger kitchen, yet I am happy I have a small, yet efficient kitchen. It allows me to keep the things I use and then either store or find a new home for the rest. It simplifies my life.
A way to create a welcoming atmosphere at the table is to get a jar or recipe box to create Table Memories, a few cards with questions on them to create dinner conversation fun while strengthening that family bond. Here is a great list to get you started courtesy of www.family-mealtimes.org :
I like to ask a lot of questions, too many questions, my kids would say. But this makes it fun to share. Another thing we have done is gone around the table to say one thing you are thankful for today. It’s a fun way to start the meal.
And do you have a Special Day Plate or could you create one? The year I was pregnant with my first child, I painted my own plate to help celebrate special days and events. It doesn’t matter what you celebrate, from something big to something small (a great football game, a lost tooth or just plain getting along!), my kids just like to be recognized and so will yours.
So make your kitchen more inviting. Invite those you love to spend time with you in the kitchen. You won’t regret it.