The following is a guest post from momAgendaCOMM blogger Toni Patton.
In today’s fast paced world sometimes it’s easy to just plop in front of the television, scarf down a dinner and then get back to homework, work, sports, and whatever else life throws out at you. It’s easy for a family to just see each other in passing. Yes, there are nights we are sitting in the living room but most nights we try to sit at the table for dinner even though we have something going on most evenings.
Today I want to share some tips with you for keeping dinnertime family time around the table.
● Slow cooker meals. Sometimes it’s not so easy to make time to make dinner with practices, church functions, working late and when that happens it’s easier to grab drive through food. When that happens, it’s not as likely that you will sit down together to eat but a busy schedule may not allow time to cook and eat. Slow cooker meals change all that. You can put it on in the morning and it’s ready to eat when you are. So even if there is only a one hour period you have to eat and visit, it can be done.
● Schedule it. For my family on certain nights, if we want to eat together scheduling it has to be done. Most nights we eat around 6 pm because that’s what works. However, there are a few nights that practices would throw that off so we have to adjust to that day and plan accordingly. If that means cold cut sandwiches for that night – so be it. If you schedule your dinnertime each day you will know that nothing else needs to be done at that time.
● Meal Plan. I try to write out a weekly meal plan and follow it, there is nothing more time consuming than trying to think of dinner an hour before you usually eat. Planning ahead means you will have all you need on hand. Waiting until 4 p.m. to figure out what you are going to have for dinner tonight isn’t going to cut it.
● Simplicity. Sure it would be great to prepare homemade pasta (from scratch), chicken pot pie from scratch every night but sometimes simplicity is what is needed to get you around the table together. I know I would rather used canned carrots than spend the extra 25 minutes cooking the raw carrots sometimes.
● Bring the family in on it. If you are cooking a dinner that is going to take some time away from the table because it takes an hour or more of constant time in the kitchen, get the family involved. Bring your spouse and kids in the kitchen to help and visit while you are cooking. Let the kids help where they can (keeping safety first) and your spouse get hands on too. Family dinnertime doesn’t have to necessarily be spent sitting at the table, why not think outside of the table and make the preparation part of the process for everyone.
Spending time together as a family is important so you stay connected – it’s the kind of time that you may not get to otherwise. It’s so easy to get “too busy” with school, sports, work and so much more going on, but the key is to making family time a priority and when it is, you will find a way to make it happen.