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6 Tips for Making Mealtime a Worthwhile Family Affair

Making Mealtime a Family Affair
Cooking can be a great bonding experience for families, and with the right recipes everyone can get involved.
AptParenting Staff
Last Updated: Mar 26, 2018
Families each have their own unique culture, and this culture is largely defined by the meals that they eat and the traditions that they keep while doing so. Kitchens are centers of activity in many households, and cooking is more than a chore, it's a major component of your lifestyle. This is why it's a wonderful idea to get your entire family in on the fun when whipping up a meal. With the following tips, you can make mealtime a family affair.
Get Everyone Excited About Cooking
Family in kitchen
If cooking is seen as a chore, then kids are certainly not going to be too interested in getting involved. But a slight change in attitude will have them eager to help out! Try talking about meal preparation in a positive way, and invite your family members to join you as you cook. If you're not the primary cook in the house, make an effort to become more involved. If your family members see you getting excited about it, odds are they'll want to join in, too!
Define Roles
Mother and daughter in kitchen
If you don't have kids, or if your kids are all old enough to handle knives and use ovens, then role definition isn't as important. All of you can pitch in and learn from one another, so you can switch things up depending on who wants to do what for each meal. But for families with small children, it's important to define the roles that kids play in the kitchen in order to include them.

First, it's always a good idea to have kids help with washing fresh fruit and veggies. Supervise them as they use a step stool to reach the sink. This is a wonderful teaching opportunity too, as you can go over what each fruit or vegetable is and why it's nutritious.

In addition to washing, kids often love to stir. Investing in fun mixing bowls and other kitchen supplies will get kids excited to pull out their favorites and help in cooking. For example, you may take your children to the store and allow them to each pick out one mixing spoon that will be exclusively theirs.
Picking the Right Recipes
Family preparing food in kitchen
Having your entire family in the kitchen while preparing a meal can be stressful, particularly if you have a large family. For this reason, it's a good idea to choose recipes that lend themselves well to a group effort, and that have steps that every member of the family can complete. It might be a good idea to have one family cooking night each week, and then to choose recipes during the rest of the week that are more targeted at the skill level of the family member who's available to help. For instance, if your toddler is set on helping out, a pasta salad that they can stir is a great idea. If your teenager wants to spend some time in the kitchen, maybe exploring a new bread or muffin recipe is the way to go.
Consider Healthy Meals
Cooking at kitchen
If you are intending to drop a few pounds but haven't been able to apply yourself consistently to it, then your mealtime could be of great help. Yes, as a family you can always discuss things that are on your agenda and ask them to help you to achieve the same. So if weight loss is your goal, then without mooching any time further, look for recipes that are healthy and easy to prepare, and also so that other members of the family can pitch in and help.
Time to Bond and not to Watch TV!
Family busy on mobile at lunch
Keep your mealtime sans any distractions and by that we mean TV, music players, smart phones, and any gizmo that can drive a wedge between you and your family time. Mealtime and conversations are an amazing combo; make the most of this time by sharing and knowing about each others day. No chastising or discussing punishment at the dinner table, that can be kept for other time.
Reward your Family with Feasts
Family taking lunch together
Food is the best way to bond with your family, all you need to do is just make those ever-hankering tummies happy with their favorite dishes. Well, of course you can also expect others to partake in the making of the feast, and we are sure they will be more than willing to lend you their helping hands.
The kitchen is the room in your home that brings everyone together, so why not have everyone pitch in? Cooking is a great bonding activity for families, and with these tips you can get everyone involved.