Do you need ideas to help make family dinner fun? Scroll through this post for some simple and unique ways to add some extra special dinners to your family’s routine.
Are you looking for ways to mix things up at dinner time?
Sure, sometimes we feel we deserve a pat on the back just for making dinner happen. But whether you’re feeding a circus with bottomless bellies or battling picky eaters, it can be fun to do things differently every once and awhile!
You might still have a little bit of chaos. But by adding in a few unique dinners, you will create memories your children can look back on and remember.
Here are 7 simple ways to make family dinner fun and extra special:
1. WEEKLY TRADITION
Once a week, on the same day, we have pizza night. Every week. We usually stick with the same thing. But pizza is versatile enough that when we need a change, we can mix up where it’s from and what’s on it or even make it from home!
For me, it great for meal planning. I know there’s at least one night a week I never have to figure out what’s for dinner! My kids also love the predictability of it.
Try your own pizza night, taco night, or whatever else your family loves.
You could also make it a theme instead of a specific dish. Italian Night, Mexican Night, Soup and Salad…whatever you want to make it something your family will actually eat and enjoy.
This could also work with breakfast foods if that’s the only time to eat together.
2. MAKE IT FANCY
Sometimes, dinner ends up being a survival-of-the-hungriest competition. Or a period of bribing and threatening to get your children to try just ONE bite.
Or, if you’re like us, a time when everyone is in the same room…all talking about their day simultaneously or asking for more water until your input levels are at max capacity.
Basically, meals with younger children can sometimes be a little chaotic.
So every once and awhile, do something totally out of the ordinary. Put a fancy tablecloth on the table. (Or buy a cheap, shiny, pretend-fancy one from a party store you can reuse.) Light some candles. Maybe even put on some soft background music.
We’ve even served chicken nuggets like this. And my kids thought it was so fun and fancy.
We don’t do it too often, but it sure makes it fun when we do! And it’s different enough that things tend to be a little calmer.
This would also be a good time to reinforce table manners. Yes, you should always be going over table manners. But many children still have an inner baboon when it comes to eating. So have fun practicing manners in a semi-formal setting.
3. BREAKFAST FOR DINNER
How about breakfast for dinner? It’s an easy and tasty way to mix things up.
Try something simple, like omelets, or experiment with a yummy breakfast you like but never have time to make during the regular morning rush.
4. JUNIOR CHEFS
It’s always a great idea to have children involved when making dinner. But as they get older, let them take the reins every once and awhile!
When you’re planning meals for the week, help them choose something simple they can do on their own (or with just a little help). Then you can make sure you have all the ingredients when the time comes.
If dinner is too much, try letting them be in charge of making the treat. My daughter loves being 100% in charge of making brownies.
5. NEW RECIPES
Do you have a group of dinners your family rotates through? Ones you know everyone will eat?
These lists are wonderful and convenient. But every once and awhile, try branching out. Pick a night when you know you’ll have a little more time and try a new recipe.
You can keep it simple or try something you normally wouldn’t have time to make. Not only is this good to keep your taste buds from getting bored, but you might discover new family favorites to add to that rotating list.
Trying new food is also good for picky eaters. Keep exposing them to new and different things! We have a rule in our family that they have to try at least one “polite bite”. It’s ok if they don’t like it. But they have to at least try it.
6. BACKWARDS DINNER
Want to know a really easy way to make family dinner fun? Go crazy and start with dessert! This is a tradition that will make even your older kids smile.
Whether you plan an outing on a nice day or lay a blanket on the kitchen floor, turning a meal into a picnic is a great way to change things up. Your kids will think it’s so clever having an indoor picnic. And if you go outside, even in the backyard, you’ll benefit from fresh air AND a little less kitchen cleanup.
Making a point to eat together is a habit that will benefit the whole family. (Find out why family meals are so important.)
So doing it as often as you can will be worth the effort. But don’t forget to sprinkle in the occasional special dinner just for fun!
What are some of your favorite ways to make family dinner fun? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!
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