Family life can be stressful at times, so what can you do to stop the insanity?
Mealtimes are one area that can easily become chaotic, but it doesn’t have to be if your family has a plan. The Scuba Divers mantra is “Plan the dive and dive the plan.” Dinnertime is not as life threatening as going underwater but the same principle applies. Here are a few ideas to plan mealtimes and chores so that things go a little more smoothly at your house.
People always comment on how well my children sit at the table and eat their meals. This is because I established a healthy eating routine from the beginning. Meals are at predictable times each day when the family gathers to enjoy good food and light conversation. Set a routine by involving children in the meal process.
- Give children a countdown to when dinner will be ready so they don’t complain when it’s time to come in or stop their activity.
- Have kids wash up before dinner.
- Ask for help setting the table and putting condiments and beverages out.
- Go around the table and have each family member talk about one good and not so good thing that happened during their day. It’s a great opportunity to get info out of your kids while they are relaxed.
- Have children help clear the table at the end of the meal.
- Get tips on delegating mealtime chores and teaching your children to cook with our More Time Moms Family Cookbook.
If everyone chips in there’s less work for Mom and Dad, and children learn early work habits. My son was a worker from an early age and I could delegate so many simple tasks to him. Not all children are like this, so even more reason to get them into practice! I have a special cupboard that’s down low and contains all the kids’ plates, bowls and cups. They can help unload the dishwasher right into their cupboard and set their place settings without any help from Mom or Dad.
- Ask kids to unload the dishwasher with you.
- Make it the kids’ responsibility to set and clear the table at dinnertime.
- Have the children sweep the floor after meals. This may help cut-down on how many crumbs they drop when they eat!
- Teach children to fold laundry. Even toddlers can help match socks and stack underwear together.
- Let children help in the garden by pulling weeds and raking or shovelling snow in winter.
- Choose a specific day of the weekend for doing an extra-thorough tidy up of their room.
- Use the More Time Moms Family Organizer to list chores and jot down to-dos for the entire family.
Children thrive on family routines. They love to be involved and they like to know what is coming next. It creates an environment of stability and consistency.
By Kristen Wint
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