When my son Cameron was around 2 years old (I was a single mom at the time) I was making dinner and he was under foot, pulling on my shirt and driving me insane with mama, mama, MAMAMAMAMAMA. It was then I thought "this child needs SOMETHING to keep him busy."
I was making spaghetti for dinner and generally we have a salad with it. I went to the fridge and got out a head of lettuce, a big plastic bowl and sat my son down at the table for him to tear the lettuce up into the bowl for the salad. He was as happy as a bear with a honey pot! From then on cooking was made into a family ordeal together and my son and I had a blast in the kitchen. That is until he became a teenager UGH.
My son and I had great conversations over the years cooking together, laughing and making dinner time fun along with my nieces too.
Here are 10 Tips For Turning Cooking Into Family Time Togetherness
- Turn off the TV and Cell Phones during cooking and mealtime. This is a time where everyone's attention should be on each other. Talk with one another and interact.
- Make decisions together like what you'll be having/making for dinner and/or dessert
- Start with kid friendly recipes you know your kids will really like to keep them interested and teach them about compromise as well
- Shop with your kids for ingredients needed for dinner. Let them pick the veggies, meat, side dish etc
- Give the kids a budget and teach them how to shop within their means and teach them to compare prices
- Keep your dinner table a "sacred space" and not let mail pile up on it to where you all end up eating "wherever". Keep the table set with a tablecloth, napkins (all washable of course ;-) so that they understand dinner is to be eaten at the table with the family
- Put a little "ceremony" in it. Wait until all family members are seated and served before letting anyone eat and start together
- Let your children know they can have your attention during cooking time but only if they are in the kitchen. Do not let them call you from all over the house.
- Keep dinnertime conversation to topics that will be of interest to your kids. This is not the time to get down on them about homework or problems in school. You want them to have open communication and speak comfortably at dinner. This should be a No Drama Zone.
- For those picky eaters of "I don't like this" and they have never tried it play the one bite game. Everyone has to try one new thing and if they don't like it they don't have to eat it again, they just have to taste it once. (I had to do this with sauerkraut and BLEH and YUCK but they can't come back and say I didn't try lol)
I hope you and your family have a wonderful time together sitting around the dinner table,