Guest Post: How to Get Dinner on the Table With Young Kids


Guest blogger Angela

Today’s guest post is from Angela, who you may remember from a couple months back when she wrote about staying on track with your diet during the holidays even when there are so many treats to eat. She loves cooking and posting pictures of all her delicious meals on Instagram, which begs the question: how do you do it with three young kids?! So here she is to tell you about it. 🙂

Life with kids is hectic. Amazing, but hectic. Can we all agree on that? If the first is true, then what I’m about to say is fact. Trying to make dinner with kids in the house is pure chaos. Can I get an “Amen”?

I happen to have three kids. Three kids who happen to be extremely close in age. Brace yourself; they are 5, 6 and 7 years old. I’ll give you a moment to let that sink in…… Recovered? Eh, close enough. They are wonderful, sweet, hilarious kids, who I can’t live without. With that being said, getting dinner on the table before midnight can be somewhat challenging with three rascals __________ (fill in the blank; ie fighting, crying, coloring walls, attempting an escape, etc.).  Thankfully, I’ve picked up some tricks along the way, that help this process go much more smoothly.

Tip #1:

Start making dinner BEFORE the kids are hungry. Hungry kids + Busy mommy = Meltdownville. This usually results in kids too upset to eat when dinner is finally ready and you making plans for the second after they’re in bed with your old friends, Ben and Jerry.

Tip #2:

Spent 15+ minutes of quality time with them before heading to the kitchen. Love them up, play with them. Be 100% present. When it’s time to start dinner, pop in a favorite movie, or set them up with a favorite (simple) activity, ie play dough, coloring books, puzzles. They will have gotten your undivided attention, and will feel content to let you go.

Tip #3:

If they are hungry before dinner is ready, offer a few of whatever veggie you are planning to serve with dinner. It gives them the choice to either accept your offer and eat a few extra veggies, or to wait until dinner is ready.

Tip #4:

Let them help you! This makes them feel involved and helpful. The tasks vary depending on age, of course. With the younger ones, give them an empty bowl and ladle, and ask them to “make a cake”. It encourages creativity and imaginative play, and is adorable to watch! The older kids can help add ingredients, or set the table for you. If they help, they get to taste things along the way. This step may take a little longer, but if everyone is content and making memories, what’s the rush?

Tip #5:

If you have time during the day, do some prep work. Chop up the veggies, make the sauce or measure things out ahead of time. It only take a few minutes here and there, but can be very helpful if tips 1-4 aren’t working!

Mini tip:
Sometimes all my kids need is a big, long hug in the middle of my cooking to calm them down.

The road to getting a healthy dinner prepared and on the table for your family may not always be smooth, but these simple tips will help you to avoid some bumps along the way!

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