Getting Creative Around Family Dinners


 I think we would all agree that family dinners are important and wonderful. But are they possible? In some cases reality comes up against the dream and we are stymied. I have a question that came to me from one of our readers.


My wife and I both work outside the home. I pick up my 2 year-old son and 8 year-old daughter on my way home from work. My wife works later and gets home between 6:15 and 6:45. I believe that family meals are important but the children simply can’t last until their mother gets home.

Any advice?


Hungry, tired and cranky children at the dinner table isn’t a positive family experience for anyone. You’re right, family time is important but it doesn’t necessarily have to happen around the dinner table.

There are a number of options open to you. One family I know with the identical problem instituted “tea time” soon after the kids got home. This was a substantial meal for the children and they joined their parents at the dinner table for what amounted to a bedtime snack. To save on extra cooking, you could give them the meal from the previous evening so they’re getting a nutritious meal, just one day later than you.

Family dinners can be saved for weekends and holidays when all can enjoy them.

Some families have made breakfast a regular family meal and this works for them.

The trick is to stay focused on your goals (i.e. positive family time, modeling table manners and the social aspects of mealtimes) and respect the developmental needs of your children. When you do that, coming up with a plan that works for you becomes easy.

Good Luck.

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Posted in Family Concerns, News, Preschoolers, School-Age, Teens, Toddlers | 1 Comment

One Response to Getting Creative Around Family Dinners

  1. Juliet says:

    Some great tips and must stress it’s the children’s needs that must come first, otherwise bedtimes get later and then you have children who barely eat or sleep as they are over tired!

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