You know that your family should eat together as often as often as possible. After all, research shows that it builds stronger family bonds and reduces the risks of kids getting in trouble.
But maybe you avoid or dread family dinners because they are stressful and demanding. They can be, yes, but they are definitely worth the trouble! And, with these tips, you’ll be able to enjoy them more and stress out about them less.
Make Weekday Meals Simple
Having a family meal doesn’t mean you have to go all Cooking Channel! The goal is to spend time together, not eat gourmet meals.
Find ways to make the weekday menu simple. You could have your grocery shopping done for you or even subscribe to a meal service which supplies you will that the ingredients and recipes. Both of these options are widely available and affordable.
But if you don’t want to go that way, why not batch cook on the weekends and freeze meals ahead of time? You can also put the slow cooker you have to good use so that dinner is finished by the time you get home. All of these ways make family dinners less stressful for the cook in the family.
No Electronics Rule
This is pretty self-explanatory. It’s darn near impossible to have a conversation when everyone is texting or checking Facebook. This rule should apply to grown-ups as well as kids!
Have Everyone Pitch In
It’s still pretty common in this era for one person to be responsible for most of the shopping, planning, prep, and cooking. That just doesn’t seem fair, and in many cases isn’t really sustainable, if that person carrying a workload in other areas, too.
When everyone pitches in, you get to spend more time together. Cooking is a fun activity, and it’s good for teaching life skills to the kids. It even encourages appreciation and gratitude for all of the work that goes into making every single meal.
Keep It Positive
Negativity can become a natural result of even the best intentions if not actively kept at bay. After all, when you finally have everyone gathered in the same place, what better time to bring up disputes or to criticize?
This can cause stress because your family will start to associate family dinners with being supervised or preached at rather than being able to securely share their thoughts and experiences. Family members will come to the table defensive and uncooperative, and feel alienated rather than brought together, which totally negates what you’re hoping to achieve.
Save the heavy discussions for another time and focus only on sharing what happened during the day and enjoying one another’s company. This will make dinner less stressful and more enjoyable and bonding for everyone.