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Family Fun at Dinnertime

Aug 17, 2007
Even as a stay at home parent it's often difficult to find time to have meals as a family. Everyone has places to rush off to. You might have kids eating at different times due to their various activities or your husband coming home just a little too late to eat with the rest of the family.

Dinner shouldn't always be rushed, however, and I strongly recommend finding ways to eat meals as a family. One thing that can help is to have a little fun with your meals.

One fun thing to do is to have dinner (or other meals) in the back yard as a picnic. Summer is a great time for family picnics. It's a much more relaxed way to enjoy your meals and get to talk as a family. After eating, you're in the perfect place to play some games, letting the kids run around as the day cools off.

You don't have to limit family picnics to summertime either. If the weather isn't cooperating, have a picnic in the house. Pick a room, spread a picnic blanket and enjoy!

On the opposite side of things, your family may enjoy the occasional more formal dinner. Young children in particular often love the excuse to dress up. Get out the good dishes that sit in the cabinet for too much of the year and use them! A little sparkling cider for the kids really adds to the fun. And remember, just because the dishes and clothes are a little fancier than normal doesn't mean you need to be a gourmet chef that night. Cook something you love.

Yet another fun thing to do is let the kids pick the menu. Depending on the number of children you have, you could let each pick one thing they want for dinner. You might get some odd combinations, but at least each of the kids will be happy with at least one part of the meal.

You can also have a theme for the meal, and get paper plates and decorations to match. Have a little fiesta and eat tacos, burritos, enchiladas or whatever Mexican foods you know how to cook. Go Italian with your favorite pasta dishes and a great salad.

No matter how busy your family is, you should be trying to have a meal together, without interruptions, at least once a week. More if you can manage it, of course. It is extremely important to keep your family connected and to know what is going on in everyone's lives. Whether you pick a night at random or have to write a date on the calendar and enforce it, you can make having family dinners something everyone looks forward to.
About the Author
Stephanie Foster runs http://www.homewiththekids.com/ with the help and hinderance of her family. She gives more advice on spending time as a family at her website.
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