Engaging Little (and Big!) Helpers at Dinnertime

Have you ever gotten ready to put the family dinner on the table and suddenly discovered that you can’t seem to find anyone? Some one is off doing homework, some one is outside, and another family member has mysteriously disappeared …

One way to get your family ready to spend time together at dinner is to engage everyone in the mealtime preparation in some way. You might be rushing to get a meal on the table and not have time for little helpers, but there are other ways you can engage them.

One of our Mom’s Council moms recently instituted “chores” for her 5 and 4 year old. Each night one boy puts the silverware and napkins on the table while another puts ice in the cups for beverages. These are small tasks but they bring the family together before it’s actually time to sit down for dinner.  This gets everyone in the same room and starts to mentally prepare your children for mealtime. After dinner you can have everyone clear the table.

Find age appropriate ways to involve your children. Some ideas are:

  • Setting the table, which also provides a great way to teach etiquette.
  • Prepping easy dishes  such as salada, simple sides, etc.
  • Getting drink orders, filling them and putting them on the table.
  • Loading dishes in the dishwasher or even hand washing items.
  • Sweeping the floor.

Make dinner a family affair from start to finish and teach your children life skills at the same time!

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