Most nights, I make a homemade meal for my family. And most nights I sit with the kids around, oh, 4:30 while they stagger through their mealtime. Mealtimes here aren't pretty. (Yes, I did just admit that.) There's a lot of lolly gagging, and not a lot of fork to mouth. My kids aren't picky eaters (at all really), they just aren't into eating (figures, right?). Anyway, a result, it's pretty frustrating for me. So, here are the changes I hope to make in the new year so dinnertime goes more smoothly for all four of us:
- Dinner will be held (you like that-- it's like a special invitation) at 6:00pm. By setting a time (which the kids were in on deciding from two choices: 6:00 or 6:30), I hope to avoid the hunched over moan that accompanies "do I reaaaaalllllyyy neeeeeeeed to stooooooooop plaaaaaaaaying and come to eat noooooow?". Yes, it's 6:00pm, and you know that is when we have dinner.
- Ideally, by eating later than, um, mid-afternoon, my husband will also be able to join us. Or at least he can catch the tail end of the "fun". Having him there for mealtimes will make it more enjoyable for everyone, and less like I am "feeding the kids".
- Somewhere, I read that mealtimes should have an end time too, not to rush everyone, but rather so there's an expectation that this is when we're eating and once it's over it's over. No post-dinner/pre-bedtime snacking. So, we've got a 6:30 end time agreed upon by all four of us, which will mean the kids have a half hour to have dinner and then a half hour to play before bedtime.
- Because dinner is going to be served about an hour to an hour and a half later than I have historically fed the kids, I plan to prep a bunch of fruits and veggies weekly to pull out and make a healthy platter to tide the kids over. This does not mean that the snack drawer will become a free for all. My goal is to place a platter of fresh fruits and veggies out on the kitchen table each day to be enjoyed between 4:30-6:00. This organization effort will no doubt carry over to healthier snack and lunch options for me as well if they're washed, chopped and ready to go...