Mealtime is a very important time for our family. We dedicate our evening dinner time as "precious family time". We eat at the dinner table and there is no TV, phones or toys. This is something that we feel very strongly about. For us dinner time is an important time to re-connect from the day and allows us to have 30 minutes of uninterrupted time together.
Tips for Making Mealtime Easier:
My son sets the table while I finish up dinner and then when my husband gets home we sit down for our meal. My son is six and has been setting the table since he was 4! He actually asked me if he could. At first I helped him but now he has it down to a science. He likes to set a formal table too and I honestly let him. He likes to put out a fork, spoon and knife with napkin at every meal. Regardless if we are using all the utensils I think it is important to teach the value of setting the table correctly so I always allow him. Sometimes he asks if we can use stemmed glasses and I always agree.
We like to keep dinner time early at our house. We normally have dinner ready no later than 5:30. If my husband is going to be late then we fix him a plate for later. However there are very few nights that he doesn't make it home. We all really value dinner time so he goes in very early so that we can keep our family dinner ritual. We really like to have our dinner meal at 5:00 or before.
During dinner we have simple conversation. My husband always asks my son to tell him 3 things he learned at school that day and I always ask him what his favorite thing was at school. This is something that keeps the communication lines open. It is funny because now my son asks my husband how his day was and what I did while he was at school.
It is very important to us that my son sits in his own chair while we eat and he is honestly normally the last one finished. We wait for him to finish before we get up to work on the dishes and it is every persons responsibility to clear their own place at the table. Again teaching him responsibility.
Now when it comes to eating we have a rule that you must "try" every item that is prepared. If you have tried it in the past and you didn't "like" it then you don't have to try it unless it has been 6 months. If it has been 6 months then you have to try it again. My son is a picky eater so the one bite rule works for us. Another idea may be that your child has to eat as many bites as their age. Whatever works for your family.
I hope some of these tips help you make your mealtime easier, they work well for us. If you have a picky eater you may want to check out this post Top 10 Picky Eater Tips.
Do you struggle at mealtime? Please leave a comment and let us know!