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Making Family Meals a Priority

September 1, 2010

As my family gets ready for the back to school season next week, I know that our schedule is about to dramatically increase in its level of busy-ness. It will become more of a challenge to have dinner together. As I’ve written before, eating meals together as a family several times per week is one of the most important things parents can do to raise happy kids. So I know how valuable it is to find a way to successfully tackle the challenges of scheduling family dinners.

On my Dinner Together blog, I have written about the importance of and the how-to processes involved in meal planning. If you feel you need some guidance in how to create meal plans that work for your family, I encourage you to read that post. In today’s post, however, I will focus on getting the people together, rather than the food. Gathering the individuals in your family around the dinner table will present different challenges depending on your work schedules, your children’s activity schedules, and your children’s ages. As my children have gotten older, we have had to become more flexible in our approach to family dinners as their activities have become more likely to take place during the typical dinner hours.

So in anticipation of the stress that’s about to come our way with the fall season, my husband and I got together last night to coordinate schedules and plan dinner times for each day of the week. If we just leave it to chance and don’t give dinner scheduling the attention it deserves, chances are good that we will have many meals with at least one family member missing. My husband and I are fortunate in that we are both self-employed and have a high level of control over our own work schedules. So we are scheduling dinner times based upon when our kids will be home (i.e., not at dance class, sports practice, etc.)

It looks like Thursday night will be the most challenging night for us, with dinner scheduled at 7:30pm, a time much later than my family is used to eating. I’m playing around with the idea of an afternoon snack-type meal followed by a light dinner. We’ll see how it goes. I’d love to hear from you on this topic. What are your biggest dinner scheduling challenges and how do you try to overcome them?

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