Over the last 15 days, as a part of the Billion Dinners Challenge, I challenged myself to sit down to eat, with another person or two or three or five, and to speak to these people without letting technology get in the way. Crazy, right?
As I mentioned in another post, sometimes it seems impossible to get our family to sit down, together, for more than five minutes at a time, but I discovered that we can make it work if we really want to!
In the 13 meals I tracked with the DinnerCall app, our average time around the table together was 30 minutes. Now, that may not seem like a long time to some, but when you've got an antsy 6 year-old and a too-curious-to-be-still 1 year-old, 30 minutes around the table is a lifetime.
Here were some of the things that made it easier on our family to make this work, just in case you find it as tricky as we do, at times:
- Eat Out! You don't have to be a gourmet chef to make this work. We did have my parents here visiting over the last two weeks, so we ate out more often than we usually would, but eating out made sit-down meals more bearable for the kids, and took pressure off of me in the kitchen. Let someone else do all of the work, for a change!
- Eat Early! With kids we tend to eat early anyway, but occasionally there's a late night here or there because of evening events, outings, guests, etc., which forces us to put dinner off until it's almost forgotten. I'll admit that in the past, on late nights, I've been known to give my 6 year-old a bowl of cereal for dinner before sending him off to bed. Plus a carrot, if he's lucky. #motheroftheyear By planning ahead of time to either eat at home or to eat out before your schedule gets too out of hand, you are able to enjoy some time together - even if it's just 15 minutes - instead of digging through cupboards and shoving whatever-you-can-find down your family's throat just to get everyone in bed as soon as possible.
- Eat Simply! On the nights that we did eat at home while my parents were visiting, we kept the meals really simple, just as we would have had they not been here. One night we had stove-top roasted potatoes mixed with veggies and frankfurters for dinner; we had quesadillas with bits of ham, peppers, and onion for lunch one day; my favorite dinner was mashed potatoes with sides of fried frankfurters, corn, and bread. And of course I've mentioned my specialties before: grilled cheese or delivery pizza. Take the pressure off of yourself. As I've mentioned, this isn't about what you're eating, it's about the fact that you're enjoying a meal with at least one other person, unplugged.
My final recommendation for making your sit-down meals a little more fun is to download the free DinnerCall app! It makes tracking dinners fun (especially if you're a bit competitive), and it offers questions as conversation starters, some of which sparked some really hilarious conversations for us!
If you read my first post about the Billion Family Dinners Challenge, you know that there was a giveaway going on over these last two weeks while I tracked my family's dinners. Congratulations to Melody, you have won a $25 gift card to the grocery store of your choice! You'll hear from Billion Dinners soon!
And now, since I'm in the groove and am all motivated and stuff, GIVE ME YOUR TIPS on how to make family meals not only a possibility, but also something your family looks forward to each day. Tell me in the comments! ⤵︎