How to help make dinnertime easier at home

Family dinnertime can sometimes be a battleground. With insults like 'I hate broccoli' and 'that's disgusting' being hurled around. Here are some tips to help make them a little easier.

It’s with very good reason that people call the hour at home when dinner, bath and bed happen, the witching hour. It can be a chaotic time in many households, where parents juggle the dinnertime battle. You know the one, where kids are ‘starving’ but don’t want to eat anything that gets served up. It’s not always easy, nor fun.

Over time I’ve discovered a few things that can help with the witching hour, particularly with dinnertime. They involve simple and easy tricks to help make dinner more pleasurable, and a little less painful.

1. Let the kids rule

This tip is within reason of course, because we all know if kids truly ruled we’d probably be in more trouble than just witching hour. Kids love feeling important, and like their voice matters, so it’s great to get them involved in choosing a meal each during the week, and then getting involved in cooking that particularly meal. 

2. Let them pick and choose

I have one child who will happily eat anything; she loves vegetables and is easy to please. I also have a toddler who turns her nose up at 95% of anything I give her. It’s quite a challenge. 

I’ve found that creating grazing plates helps ease that worry. We use plates with segments so that I can fill the plate with various types of foods that the kids can pick and choose from. I want to keep serving my toddler foods that she doesn’t (yet!) like, but hopefully will come around to enjoying.

3. Let the kids set it up

As I mentioned before, kids love feeling important. Have a drawer that the kids can set the table from. It could have place-mats, cutlery and unbreakable cups, so that the kids can be grown-up and help set the table. Of course, it’s great to give a “Wow, this is amazing” reaction when the table is set, even if the knife and fork are the wrong way round, because kids love praise!
Boy carrying drinks to put on the table

4. Make it musical

Do you have kids that won’t sit still? Introduce music into mealtimes, especially the mealtimes that have gone a little bit awry. Play a song and let the kids know what while the music is on, they have to sit and eat. It’s a manageable chunk of time for them to sit and hopefully eat their dinner.

5. Play favorites 

This is an activity that my kids love playing every day. We go around the table and share what our favourite thing was from the day. It’s a great way to teach the kids positivity, and also to start conversations with each other over the family table.
 
Looking back now as an adult, dinnertime as a family was one of my most favourite times. We laughed, we ate, and we shared stories. Hopefully, using some of the tips above, you can create amazing memories as a family that will last forever, longer than the witching hour.
 
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