Making and enjoying meals with other people is tried-and-true human social behavior. In good times and not-so-good times, meals bring people together to share a moment and nurture the body.
Today, challenges like divorce and busy schedules make quality time even more important—and hard to come by. The answer for you and your children could be as close as dinnertime tonight.
There is a lot of support for making a habit of eating meals with your children. When breakfast and lunch are history, dinnertime offers more time to relax, talk, and enjoy food preparation. Just a few of the good reasons to eat dinner with your children include:
- Being present in the lives of your children: Regularly put aside time to spend with your children –make it clear that they are on the map in your life.
- Dinner is important: Learning good eating habits pays off over a lifetime. You and your children can discover and discuss what is good for your body—and what might be better in moderation.
- Social emphasis: Leave no doubt that dinnertime leaves disagreements and ill will off the table. While it is important for your children to know that you have expectations of them, the dinner table is not the time and place. Be sure your children associate eating with nutrients and fun, not dismal dinners eaten in sullen silence.
- Time is short: If your parenting time schedule allows for mealtimes during the week, make the most of it by showing your children how much you enjoy the time you have—without belaboring their return to their other home.
Taking children out to eat on their dinner night is a habit that may work perfectly for your family. But you can ramp up the personal nature of your evening and create meals to remember with just a little work at home. Consider these tips:
- Planning is important. Work with your children to develop a menu and shopping list. That list and your menus will change as they age—and your cooking skill grows. If you do not cook much, take this opportunity to learn with your children. Buy a beginning cook book and start your own traditions with new dishes that you make together.
- Keep it simple—and standard: Even if you have fussy eaters, make one meal. If a child only eats a portion of it, that’s fine. The fun is in the planning, the making, and the dinner itself—it does not matter if it is a culinary masterpiece. The more you experiment and try new foods and dishes, the more your children will learn that trying new things is fun and safe.
- Use what you buy: Show your children you care about your food, where it comes from, and where it goes. Think about making a composter with your children. Clean and recycle food containers. Have your kids over later for leftovers—or let them take the leftovers home with them.
- Keep it light: Make dinner a fun encounter for your children. As they grow, conversations deepen, and they may always remember your dinners as a good time when they got to know you best.
Married or divorced, dinner is an easy fix when your aim is creating space to nurture your relationship with your children.
Speak with an experienced Baltimore divorce attorney
When you need straightforward, knowledgeable legal guidance during separation or divorce in Maryland, we can help. Focused on divorce, child custody, and family law, the Law Offices of Allyson B. Goldscher, LLC serves individuals and families in Baltimore and Baltimore County. Contact us when you have questions about divorce, or call 410-602-9522 to schedule an appointment to talk about your situation.