An entire family sitting around the table enjoying a home-cooked meal and one another's company seems almost like a fairytale these days. More and more frequently, buffet-style set-ups and urges to head to the computer or TV take precedence. Here are some ideas to adopt for getting your family excited about meal-time again.
Little helpers:Toddlers love nothing more than to feel helpful and important. Invite little ones into the kitchen and get them enthusiastic about preparing dinner. First, involve your family in the meal-planning process. Before grocery shopping, ask each member of the family to pick a meal especially for them on a specific day. This will make each person excited for that day and feel special. Then during meal preparation, ask your younger kids to bring you ingredients, such as an onion from the pantry, or to be in charge of timer.
Give older children the responsibility of setting the table, washing and cutting vegetables or making the salad. Think about bringing a stereo or Ipod docking station into the kitchen to make meal-making into a family party. Play your family's favorite movie soundtrack or sing-alongs. Remember that the goal is to turn off the TV and shut off the computer to bring the family together.
More than food:Create an entire experience around dinner instead of inhaling food, rushing from the table and then cleaning up.
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Incorporating a few of these ideas into your meal planning will surely make spending time together as a family fun, unique and memorable.