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What ways do you connect with your family during dinner?
It’s just about summer and the barbecue is starting to get a lot of use. When the weather gets hot our family likes to enjoy the evenings and cool breezes on the patio and it’s perfect for the grill, so we try to barbecue as many evenings as possible.
The school year is winding down, but we still have sports going on and it’s so hard to find time to have a decent meal and family time. This year has been one of ups and downs. As your children get older and more independent they tend to want to be on their own more. While this is healthy, I have also come to realize they need to still feel connected. They are at a crossroads going into adulthood.
From time to time in the last few years we have been through family counseling and one thing I did take out of it and try to implement more is weekly family night or game night as some call it.
The problem sometimes comes from busyness. Even the best of intentions of activities can get in the way of family time. There have been times where between the 5 of us, everyone had something going on each night of the week so we could not be together.
When you are not connecting together on a regular basis, you lose communication and it’s possible your kids can slip away or even a marriage gets neglected because of busyness and life.
It’s true what they say, you only have so many summers with your children and you need to make the most of them. Because of our financial situation and the type of work my husband does, we are not able to do normal yearly vacations, so it’s even more important to sit down and have family dinners or short day trips.
Since having dinner outside eliminates distractions like TV and electronics, it is the perfect area to have our family meal and enjoying the fresh air and nature is an added bonus.
Coming up with meals to make on a budget sometimes can be a challenge. Plus we don’t want to spend all the time cooking, we want to be spending time with the kids. This week I stopped by Walmart and picked up a pizza from California Pizza Kitchen called The Works, items for a salad, some garlic bread, and strawberries.
When I got home, I melted some chocolate and made some chocolate dipped strawberries. Then I turned on the grill and put the pizza and garlic bread on it. I quickly put together a salad and within 20 minutes we were ready for dinner.
The food was delicious. I felt like they got a great meal plus the strawberries were an added treat for them. I usually don’t barbecue, I leave that up to my hubby, but it was so easy and I wanted to be done cooking when he got home and actually it was quicker than the oven and it had a wonderful flavor. The perfect meal when you want a quick easy meal.
So this is my challenge to you. It doesn’t matter how old your kids are. There are 7 nights in the week. You need about 2 hours to clear your schedule. We have picked Mondays from 6 – 8 pm. Try some of these types of things after you eat, and see what can happen with your family.
- Take a bike ride
- Go out for Ice Cream
- Play a game
- Take a walk
- Play horseshoes
- Spend time talking about a short trip to take
- Bake a dessert together (my favorite)
- Go for a hike
- Bring dinner to a neighbor in need as a family (there are so many opportunities for this)
- Take the dog for a long walk
The key is to talk about it before you start doing it and get everyone on board so there are no conflicts. Of course, things happen and the night might be interrupted, but make your family your priority, they are worth it. Think about it. How many summers do you have left with your kids?
I large bowl of Pasta is my go to meal when short on time. SO good paired with salad and bread.
Julie @ Girl on the Move says
I have so many excellent memories of family dinners when I was growing up…my parents made an intentional effort to do that as much as possible! Now we try to keep food on hand that is already prepped so it is easy to throw dinner together in a hurry…cook/shred chicken ahead of time so you can always throw that in tacos, salads, etc!
Family time is so important and it is something I wish I had more of growing up. My dad had worked 2nd shift, so he left for work while we were at school and we were in bed sleeping before he got home. We rarely got to see him. One thing, he always made sure during his vacation time, he would take us camping somewhere so we could spend quality family time together.
Seems like these days I am always short on time, so I have to find things that are quick and easy during the week. Many times it’s pasta, chili, or tacos with veggies and fruit. That’s a complete meal at our house!
This is a great topic! Too many families now-a-days don’t even eat dinner with each other once a week! Although I don’t make it home for dinner many nights out of the week because of my college class schedule, I really do enjoy sitting down and hanging out with my parents over a meal! (:
PS- coming from the Bloggers Get Social Facebook group (:
Oriana @Mommyhood's Diary says
I love no-fuss dinners like this one! Having time to enjoy family is our #1 priority. Thanks for the ideas. #client
Dinner time is so hectic in my home but I love the idea of scheduling an activity. I’ve been wanting to walk more and think I’ll make that a thing. Love the dinner ideas too.
I usually enlist the help of my children when I am short on time! They love cooking so it’s a win-win for everyone involved! Many hands makes light work after all!
Brianne- Just Trying To Save Money says
I make a very hard effort every week to eat most of our meals at the dinner table, its great to have that time with the kiddos to talk and find out about their day!
winifred jac says
I am already dreading the days when my daughter is in school full time then running off to dance class or whatever it is, she’ll be doing. i cant really think about it or ill start crying. lol. every minute with her is so special; i dont want it to go away. right now we do movie nights on fridays. no phones for mommy and daddy, we get whatever snacks our daughter wants, she gets to fall asleep downstairs… it’s something we plan on doing forever. no matter what.
Barb @ A Life in Balance says
Great ideas for family time, Candi! We haven’t been very good about doing what you suggest though we try to make the most of our time together.
Quirky Homemaker says
Family meal time is SO important to me and I feel like we haven’t been doing it as much as I’d like. I think everyone has forgotten how important it is to me!!! As for trying to get dinner done quickly. . . .I try to prepare as many things ahead of time as I can while the others in my house are doing other things. Stopping by from the hop! Thanks for hosting. 🙂
Rachel B says
Great ideas, I love the challenge! Since it’s been warmer we’ve enjoyed playing outside extra after dinner or going for a walk to get ice cream!
Heather D. (@GirlGoneMom) says
What a delicious meal! I like to have frozen food on hand when in a pinch.