This Post Is Sponsored By Steggles
Over and over the research keeps telling us how crucial meal times are for families. I was at a parenting seminar recently and the presenter was saying how important it was for children’s mental health that their family share a meal together at least 5 times a week. He said that did not necessarily mean just dinner time but more that families were intentionally sitting and eating together without the distraction of screens.
From the Stegglers Quality Time Index
I have been aware for some time of how important regular family meals are to a healthy, happy family. In our home, we sit and eat together at the dinner table at least 6 nights a week but that hasn’t always been a pleasant experience. I am sure I am not alone in saying that meal times with babies and toddlers can be more than a little bit stressful.
For years’ dinner time turned into one of the most stressful parts of my day. This was often due to food refusal, tired kids, fussy eaters and the list goes on. I am here to tell you that it gets better, I promise you, it really does.
In the last year or two as our kids have gotten older dinnertime has become much less stressful. It’s interesting because even though this has been the case, I have found myself still dreading the stress of dinner with small children because that is what I experienced for a good 8 years running.
When I sit back from it all and look at where things are at with our growing family I can see that it is changing and I am now on a mission to shift my dread leading up to dinner time into great memories and conversations with our kids.
I have found one of the best ways to change the dinner experience for our family into something fun, memorable and meaningful was to mix it up. To create new family rituals and routines that take the edge off, create some connection while having a bit of fun.
Below is a list of meaningful and fun ways we do dinner with our family ….
1. Change The Location
It is amazing how excited our kids get when we decide to have a picnic dinner on the floor or around the brazier fire in the backyard. The winter backyard dinner around the fire is a family favourite and one our kids talk about often.
2. Change The Order
Another super simple and fun idea is to change the order that we have dinner … eg dessert first. This started as a little family tradition one year on hubby’s birthday. I am not even sure what inspired it that year but it has been a yearly ritual on hubby’s birthday since then and the kids get so excited about it.
3. Invite The Neighbours
Every week on a Friday afternoon / evening we invite our neighbours over to share a meal with our family. It is always a great time and a lovely way to stay connected with our street. It gives the kids an opportunity to play and everyone has a good time.
4. The Best And The Worst
Every night when our family sit around dinner we all get a few minutes to share the best and the worst thing that happened to us today. We have found this is a really great way to dive deeper into what our kids got up to today. What I also love about it is our kids get to hear a bit about what me and hubby got up to today as well and they love that. We have found this really simple idea has created so much more meaningful conversations during dinnertime for our family.
5. Daddy’s Sunday Roast Lunch
Hubby is a bit of a MasterChef in our household and we all love the Sunday roast for lunch. This is something my family did growing up and often involved our extended family. We usually cook out in the BBQ because it keeps the house cool, gives it a beautiful smokey flavour and we can play with the kids while it cooks.
Here is how we cook our awesome lemon and honey roast chicken in the BBQ:
- Combine and mix the juice from a lemon, 6 tablespoons of honey, 2 tablespoons of mustard and some salt and pepper
- Place a large Steggles Family Roast Chicken in a baking dish
- Place the remains of the lemon in the cavity opening of the chicken
- Baste the chicken with about half of the mixture all over
- Pre-heat the BBQ to about 180C and place the chicken for roughly 1.5 hours (the size of the chicken will determine the cooking time. You can use a meat thermometer to check the temperature inside
- After 45 mins, open the BBQ and re-baste the chicken with the remaining mixture. Add any vegetables that you want to roast to the dish at this time too
- Once cooked, remove and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.
We only have our kiddos for a short period in their lives so we must make that time count. The dinner table provides a great opportunity to connect with family and friends on a daily basis to make those years count.
I just want to say a big thanks to Steggles for sponsoring this post and contributing some top shelf chicken to the Sunday roast lunch.
Steggles are big supporters of quality family time so they are giving 10 lucky people the chance to win 10 x Hoyts movie tickets each.
All you need to do to enter is share your own family quality fun times and you could be one of the lucky 10 winners.
To enter you can share a photo via Instagram or Twitter and make sure you hashtag #stegglerfor #qualitytime and #SMxSteggles
Please note that winners must use all of the hashtags for their entry to be valid.