February Parenting Tip: Make Mealtime Fun

Has life become a bit mundane?  Does every week seem to be the exact same as the week before, especially when it comes to mealtime?  If “Taco Tuesdays” and “Salmon Sundays” sound familiar, you know what I am talking about.  Why not spice up dinner time, get creative, and have fun with your food?

Dinner time is an opportunity to discuss the day and enjoy each other’s company.  Adding an element of fun is a great way to bond together as a family plus everyone will look forward to mealtime.  The ideas are endless but here are just a few to help you get creative in the kitchen:

  • Have a dinner costume party with the kids, where everyone comes to the table in their favorite character.   Don’t be afraid to act silly, dress up and participate too!  The boys and I did this the other night and we had a blast.
  • Create an educational dinner:
    •  If there is a letter of the week your child is learning in school , cook foods that begin with that letter.  For example, if the letter is “P”, cook Pasta and perhaps have Pudding for dessert.   Discuss which foods start with “P” that are on the table as well as additional items you can all come up with. You and your child can even think of a menu together.   This is a great way to hear about what your child is learning at school vs. the ever popular, “I don’t remember”.
    • Cooking foods with your child’s favorite color in mind is a neat way to get them to eat their veggies and also expand their pallet.  My son’s favorite color is green, which is lucky, but don’t worry if you have to venture into new territory and try new menu items based on your child’s color.  For example, if your child loves pink or purple, make or buy beets, which are super healthy!
  • Have your child cook YOU dinner.  Let them pick the menu, help you shop for the items and help to prepare the meal.  It’s a perfect activity for you and your child to spend time together.  They will feel so proud that they were a big helper and understand how much work goes in to preparing a meal.
  • If you are tired of cooking and are ready to make reservations instead of dinner, create a “Dinner Date Night” for you and your kids.  Since my husband travels during the week, on Thursday nights, I always tell my boys that I have to go out since I have a very special date planned.  I joke that I am going to meet three handsome boys whom I cannot wait to go out to dinner with, and then tell them I will see them all later.  They always laugh when they realize they are my dates.  By now, they have caught on but it never gets old.  I give them a choice of three inexpensive and  kid friendly restaurants, and then let them pick which one they prefer.  On a side note, a dinner date night is a great reward for those that use behavior charts.    Some people might not consider going out to dinner by themselves with three kids under six,  pleasurable, but for me, it’s quality time where I don’t have to keep getting up to cook, serve and oh yah, clean up!  Whether you  are a one parent family, two parent family or part of a traveling parent family, like me, “Dinner Date Night” is the perfect way to make you all feel special.

Mommy Masters would love to hear how you make mealtime creative and fun for your family!  Thanks for reading and remember…